Berfrois

October 2020

‘Pigs were the consummate meat of the early Middle Ages’

‘Pigs were the consummate meat of the early Middle Ages’

Even the Christians who loved to eat pigs vilified them as greedy, dirty, destructive animals. This reputation was woven into the scriptures that early medieval readers studied and quoted and wove into their own stories and texts...

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Marian Janssen on John Berryman

Marian Janssen on John Berryman

Letters are always self-involved, but Berryman’s are often insufferably self-obsessed, even if they are meant to be letters of condolence...

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Reparations as an Enduring Social Movement

Reparations as an Enduring Social Movement

Black folk took up reparations for slavery as an enduring social movement, bequeathed from generation to generation...

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Where’s the Veg?

Where’s the Veg?

It’s a common enough scenario. A vegetarian has been invited to a friend’s place for dinner. The host forgets that the guest is a vegetarian, and places a pork chop in front of her. What is she to do?

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Merovingians in the Mediterranean

Merovingians in the Mediterranean

When one thinks about the Merovingians—and, really, who doesn’t?—one seldom thinks of the Mediterranean. There is good reason for that...

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Zigzag Waffle Rabbit

Zigzag Waffle Rabbit

And so on, as before, in a roundabout way, using more words to say nothing than necessary...

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Stuart Walton: Freud’s Life

Stuart Walton: Freud’s Life

The analytic approach to mental and emotional pathology has never quite shaken loose its origins in improvised postulation and ethereal supposition.

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Ki & Kin

Ki & Kin

If the tree is ki, what about the acorns? They agree that the acorns are kin, a whole family of little beings...

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Caroline Rothnie: Uncovering the Present

Caroline Rothnie: Uncovering the Present

I’ve looked towards the apocalypse to hide from my duty to the present, to all of us here living our small lives...

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Elisa Veini on Agnès Varda

Elisa Veini on Agnès Varda

“Aging for me is not a condition, but a subject,” said Agnès Varda in her Norton Lectures at Harvard University in February 2018, shortly before her 90th birthday...

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And Yet as Mortal

And Yet as Mortal

H.G. Wells’ 1897 novel The War of the Worlds has never lost its power to unsettle, but it has become peculiarly resonant with the arrival of Covid-19...

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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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