Berfrois

October 2019

The women of the ‘68 student movement in Mexico

The women of the ‘68 student movement in Mexico

The masculine narrative of history has insisted on downplaying the role of women in the student movement of ’68, although there is research...

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Adam Staley Groves: Stevens, Benjamin and Trump

Adam Staley Groves: Stevens, Benjamin and Trump

We watch screens. That is where we think politics happens. But in truth, politics does not happen beyond one’s feeling for something.

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David Beer: A Love of Fakes

David Beer: A Love of Fakes

Byung-Chul Han’s writing breezes across the pages of Shanzhai. Laconic in style and concise in argument, this short book briefly outlines and illustrates some deceptively intricate arguments...

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10 Years of Berfrois!

10 Years of Berfrois!

Ten years have passed since poet, essayist and interviewer Russell Bennetts founded Berfrois, drawing its rather gallic name from the Old English term for the dais on which jousts were viewed.

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Ansgar Allen: Extinction Rebellion and European Nihilism

Ansgar Allen: Extinction Rebellion and European Nihilism

There is an uncanny resemblance between Extinction Rebellion and what Friedrich Nietzsche once called “European nihilism”.

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Jesse Miksic: Don’t Look Now

Jesse Miksic: Don’t Look Now

To do my due diligence this year, hoping to connect with the cosmic conspiracy that suddenly seems so proximal, I unearth Don't Look Now, which I have secreted away on my hard drive...

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Scherezade Siobhan: Malpaís / Badlands

Scherezade Siobhan: Malpaís / Badlands

I don’t go to poems for skillful ease or what’s rote. I come seeking an empathic witness, what the Sufi calls ruhul seyrani—the moving soul, frequently illegible.

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Who’s a feminist?

Who’s a feminist?

It is the best of times and it is the worst of times to declare oneself a feminist today. Presentations of that creature have been shape shifting for decades, though right now she suddenly seems more popular than ever...

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‘What I did in life, I did with books’

‘What I did in life, I did with books’

I’ve always been aware of being an inconsistent personality. Of having a lot of contradictory voices knocking around my head. As a kid, I was ashamed of it.

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Academics as Comrades

Academics as Comrades

Academics are encouraged to be many things: “professional,” “mindful,” “collaborative,” “accessible,” “socially conscious,” “innovative"...

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Disruption, Disrupted

Disruption, Disrupted

WeWork was the latest and greatest “unicorn,” a massive disrupter to the commercial real estate industry, for whom the sky was literally the limit.

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Ed Simon: Still Nervous about Harold Bloom

Ed Simon: Still Nervous about Harold Bloom

We come to bury Harold Bloom, not to praise him. The misinterpretations, reactionary poses, and grandiose sentiments too often live after our seemingly once-omnipotent critics pass...

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Adventure Is In Here!

Adventure Is In Here!

You materialize at a sprawling ranch near a snowcapped mountain covered with freshly powdered pines. Three horses graze nearby behind a purplish wooden fence.

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Substrata of Substratum

Substrata of Substratum

The title of Lee Smolin’s new book may seem a little puzzling, given that Albert Einstein notoriously chose to disregard quantum mechanics rather than suggesting an alternative to it.

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Portrait of a Londoner

Portrait of a Londoner

Nobody can be said to know London who does not know one true cockney - who cannot turn down a side street, away from the shops and the theatres, and knock at a private door in a street of private houses.

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Voters had tired of her imperial style…

Voters had tired of her imperial style…

In 1991, less than a year after Tory MPs deposed her as party leader and prime minister, Margaret Thatcher appeared on the platform at the Conservatives’ annual conference with her successor...

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Popular Music and Everyday Resistance in WWII

Popular Music and Everyday Resistance in WWII

In the 1940s, the French faced a series of threats to their national integrity and pride—first from the Germans and then from the Americans, who both wielded military dominance and a powerful cultural model.

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Janky Machines

Janky Machines

We live in machines but are not machines. Restless forms imagine new presents, where past and future meet. As becoming-digital beings, we retain and engage the problem of embodiment...

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“my right arm hurts so much”

“my right arm hurts so much”

Last summer, I woke up one morning to find my right hand couldn’t grab the doorknob to turn it open. The next thing I knew was that no matter how many times I shook it, it remained numb.

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M. Munro: Making It Explicit

M. Munro: Making It Explicit

One of Kafka’s posthumously published fragments concerns a philosopher whose sole activity, as a philosopher, consists in giving chase to a child’s toy.

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Joseph Spece
Joseph Spece: When Gamers Attack

Like many ugly controversies, the beginnings of #gamergate are linked to the end of love — well, the end of a relationship, at least....

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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...

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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...

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Jay Aquinas Thompson Interviews Eric Weisbard

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

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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...

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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.

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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....

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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....

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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...

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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...

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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....

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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...

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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....

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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...

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