Berfrois

March 2020

Eternity, Hell, Angels

Eternity, Hell, Angels

Current conversations about the essay—and there are many—emphasize the provisional, speculative nature of the genre, the suggestion of a test, a tryout.

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Be Bored

Be Bored

What, exactly, is boredom? It is a deeply unpleasant state of unmet arousal: we are aroused rather than despondent, but, for one or more reasons, our arousal cannot be met or directed.

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‘Florida was not to be outdone by any state, in particular California’

‘Florida was not to be outdone by any state, in particular California’

David J. Nelson challenges the notion that the Great Depression helped rather than hurt tourism in Florida.

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Ed Simon: An Appointment with Father Grandier

Ed Simon: An Appointment with Father Grandier

One spring day in 1629, legions of devils came to call upon Father Urbain Grandier. If we’re to believe his accusers, the priest respond with enthusiasm at the arrival of his demonic charge.

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Toni Hildebrandt on Ana Vaz

Toni Hildebrandt on Ana Vaz

Atomic Garden, an experimental film by Ana Vaz, opens with a purely textual prologue: Aoki Sadako, an elderly Japanese woman, visits her flower garden...

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Jesse Miksic: Robert Graves’ Mythology in Tokyo-3 and Fódlan

Jesse Miksic: Robert Graves’ Mythology in Tokyo-3 and Fódlan

The boy walks slowly across the wasteland, a lone figure—eyes in shadow, looking vaguely at his feet, but knowing, somehow, where he is going.

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Albert Rolls: Pynchon in the Low Countries

Albert Rolls: Pynchon in the Low Countries

Martin Eve is able to demonstrate in “Historical Sources for Thomas Pynchon’s ‘Peter Pinguid Society’” that Pynchon consulted a single source...

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Eli S. Evans: The Writer vs. the Pandemic

Eli S. Evans: The Writer vs. the Pandemic

If you played an instrument before the pandemic, but so badly that it would not have occurred to you to publicly disseminate videos of yourself playing it...

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Joel Gn: The End of Transmission

Joel Gn: The End of Transmission

Pandemics in the age of communication technologies are stranger beasts than the parasitical agents that gave birth to them.

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Advice for Isolated Writers

Advice for Isolated Writers

Welcome to the new order. It’s not going to be fun or easy. But maybe you finally can carve out time to finish (or begin) that novel. You can read and write poetry.

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Dancing Nietzsche

Dancing Nietzsche

Friedrich Nietzsche’s body of work is notoriously difficult to navigate. He wrote in multiple styles, including essays, aphorisms, poems, and fiction.

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Drying Up

Drying Up

It didn’t happen all at once. I didn’t wake up one morning to find myself unable to write creatively. For months, I could eke out a story or group of poems...

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Wager for Happiness

Wager for Happiness

In the summer or fall of 1943, La France libre, the London-based provisional government led by General Charles de Gaulle...

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Green Thumbs

Green Thumbs

Not long after he arrived in Machilipatnam, Thomas Bowrey began to wonder what it was that the people of Machilipatnam were smoking.

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A hurricane across the green fields of life…

A hurricane across the green fields of life…

A little over one hundred years ago, a novel virus emerged from an unknown animal reservoir and seeded itself silently in settlements around the world.

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Remembering SARS

Remembering SARS

The experience of SARS traumatized Hong Kong, and the memories have endured in the territory’s collective consciousness....

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Voted, Ran, Isolated

Voted, Ran, Isolated

On the dot of noon yesterday, we received text messages from the government telling us to observe the ‘strict rules’ laid down by the president of the republic.

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Elias Tezapsidis: Plato’s Academy

Elias Tezapsidis: Plato’s Academy

While I had much success in my multiple attempts to create relationships where I was the person switching the intimacy dimmer higher or lower based on how well my expectations...

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Turning to f116v

Turning to f116v

I think I'm finally ready to come out as a Voynich scholar. I've been studying hi-res scans of the manuscript off and on for four years or so...

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Covid Conspiracies

Covid Conspiracies

The conspiracy theories about the virus range from it being a biological weapon created by the Chinese government, that it is a conspiracy created by U.S. democrats to prevent Trump’s reelection...

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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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