Berfrois

July 2019

Corporate Mindfulness

Corporate Mindfulness

Whatever ails you—be it anger, depression, or wanting a career change—there is a book on how mindfulness and meditation can help you attain your goals while bringing about a sense of contentedness.

Read More

Amelia Morris: Gender and Precarious Research Careers

Amelia Morris: Gender and Precarious Research Careers

It is no secret that academia has undergone a shift towards market-driven targets, leading universities to prioritise ‘dimensions such as performativity...

Read More

The ups and downs and clashes of Western civilization

The ups and downs and clashes of Western civilization

Recently, Javier Ortega Smith, the leader of Vox, the populist radical right party in Spain, came under scrutiny for language that Spanish Attorney General Luis Navajas called "abominable"...

Read More

Nicholas Rombes: One Perfect Sentence #6

Nicholas Rombes: One Perfect Sentence #6

Ralph Wurlitzer, who is 82 years old, published five novels, of which Flats is number two. It takes place in the aftermath of some unnamed disaster...

Read More

Karla Huebner: Prague, Crossroads of Europe

Karla Huebner: Prague, Crossroads of Europe

As this book is a travel guide, we may reasonably ask whether it is useful beyond that specific purpose. What does it offer scholars of urban history, or for that matter scholars in general who may or may not be planning trips to Prague?

Read More

The Myth of Blubber Town, an Arctic Metropolis

The Myth of Blubber Town, an Arctic Metropolis

Perched on a desolate island in the Norwegian archipelago of Svalbard — 1,500 kilometers north of the Arctic Circle — sits the settlement of Smeerenburg.

Read More

Andrew Epstein: John Ashbery, Jordan Ellenberg and Math

Andrew Epstein: John Ashbery, Jordan Ellenberg and Math

To my surprise, in the car the other day my math-obsessed 14-year-old son Dylan suddenly exclaimed “John Ashbery!” from the backseat. It turns out he’d reached the last pages of Jordan Ellenberg's...

Read More

“I’m hip”

“I’m hip”

Bar Dykes—a forgotten gem written in the early 1980s by Tennessee-based author (and proud butch) Merril Mushroom—is being presented by The Other Side of Silence

Read More

Check Out a Tear

Check Out a Tear

I’m a crier by nature, but as I have aged, my reasons for tearing up have become more elusive, even to me. Where once I could predict a crying spell, like spotting an East Texas thunderstorm moving across the landscape...

Read More

Ed Simon: Once We Went to the Moon

Ed Simon: Once We Went to the Moon

Our culture has always had ambiguous feelings about the moon; both the celestial orb that lights our way home and a furnace of madness that causes lycanthropy and marks the witches’ sabbath.

Read More

Nicholas Rombes: One Perfect Sentence #5

Nicholas Rombes: One Perfect Sentence #5

by Nicholas Rombes From Asymmetry, by Lisa Halliday. Simon and Schuster, 2018: The effect, on Alice, was dazzling and demoralizing all at once: reverberating in her sternum, the music made her more desperate than ever to do, invent, create—to channel all her own energies into the making of something...

Read More

Yang IRL

Yang IRL

Part of running for President is the contest to tell the best story about the problems of the country.

Read More

We read piles of books to earn personal pan pizzas…

We read piles of books to earn personal pan pizzas…

In high school, we swooned to boy bands and carried quarters so we could “arrive alive” after a teenage drinking binge. In middle school, we walked straight to airport gates to greet our grandparents as they tumbled off flights...

Read More

Vernon Lee: About Leisure

Vernon Lee: About Leisure

Hung in my room, in such a manner as to catch my eye on waking, is an excellent photograph of Bellini's St. Jerome in his Study. I am aware that it is not at all by Bellini

Read More

Teresa K. Miller and Gregory Giles Discuss Spectatorship

Teresa K. Miller and Gregory Giles Discuss Spectatorship

Thanks to Instagram and all its metastasized relations, nowhere is so far off the beaten path we can’t experience it visually...

Read More

Ernesto Bassi on the Occupation of Havana

Ernesto Bassi on the Occupation of Havana

The Siege of Havana, 1762, Dominic Serres the Elder, 1767 by Ernesto Bassi The Occupation of Havana: War, Trade, and Slavery in the Atlantic World, by Elena Andrea Schneider,  Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 360 pp. On a Sunday morning in early June 1762, Cuba’s captain general,...

Read More

Nicholas Rombes: One Perfect Sentence #4

Nicholas Rombes: One Perfect Sentence #4

I first read Under Western Eyes as a graduate student in English at Penn State University in a terrible seminar called simply “Woolf and Conrad”...

Read More

Adam Staley Groves: Remember Hope?

Adam Staley Groves: Remember Hope?

After watching the first Democratic debates, from which this party will nominate its candidate for President of the United States, I was happily unnerved...

Read More

Ed Simon: On Death and Not Dying

Ed Simon: On Death and Not Dying

At the eastern edge of the city of Pittsburgh, where neighborhoods lined with red and pin oak, birch and elm start to merge into the forested thicket...

Read More

Keith Doubt: Is Ratko Mladić miserable?

Keith Doubt: Is Ratko Mladić miserable?

When, according to Socrates, was Mladić more miserable? When he committed genocide and over a long period of time was not arrested, convicted, or punished..

Read More
Jeremy Fernando: Not

A response — Bartleby’s response — foregrounding the fact that it is the “I” that “prefers not to”: not that ‘I cannot’ nor ‘I...

Read More
Owen Vince on HARK

As a poet, you are your grandmother; you are browsing the obituaries with a red pen and an address book in your hand. The...

Read More
Jay Aquinas Thompson Interviews Eric Weisbard

Eric Weisbard wrote twenty years ago, introducing the voluminous, era-summarizing, contrarian and contradictory Spin Alternative Record Guide.

Read More
Collective Destruction by Keith Doubt

What, then, is sociocide? Sociocide resonates with the term demodernization formulated by A. V. Tishkov to account for the consequences of the war in...

Read More
Heather Lang on Fiona Sampson and Sarah Morgan

Poet Fiona Sampson is a former career violinist, and, perhaps unsurprisingly, overt references to music appear in her work.

Read More
Setsuko Adachi: Azalea Exuberance Strikes

In May, in the garden of the elevated house at the bottom of the hill, four shrubs of stunning azaleas come into full blossom....

Read More
Joe Linker
Joe Linker on Li Po

Florence showed me what she called the most famous of Chinese poems. She had made her own translation from a Chinese language newspaper clipping....

Read More
Teresa K. Miller and Gregory Giles Discuss Luc Moullet

To begin at the end: After nearly two hours exploring facets of exploitation in the globalized food system, Luc Moullet closes Genèse d’un repas/Origins...

Read More
Adam Staley Groves: Iowa Nasty

Now it seems the state’s radical conservatives are degrading the historic, populist-provincial mentality of Iowa; they are revising the state’s legacy within the broader...

Read More
Animal Spirits at the Nueva Burdalesa Bakery by Jessica Sequeira

A few years ago all I had was a certain ambition and an understanding, more or less, of how things work in this world....

Read More
Sebastian Normandin
Meaning and Pseudoscience by Sebastian Normandin

The persistence and proliferation of pseudoscientific thinking in contemporary culture demands explanation. Clearly there are some pragmatic reasons for its expanded existence, and people...

Read More
Janice Lee For the Ghost

The memories are like stutters. Sometimes I inhale for air, and exhale a shaking chain of memories. A choking hazard. I for the ghost....

Read More
Edi Rama’s Bunker Mentality by Vincent W.J. van Gerven Oei

As many former Eastern Block countries in the EU display a hardly dissimulated form of racism and religious hatred, Albania, always a little behind...

Read More
Menachem Feuer on Sarah Silverman and Lena Dunham

Elle called Silverman’s image of her wearing a shirt with several naked Lena Dunhams a “beautiful tribute.” Dunham, the article tells us, “seemed to...

Read More