Berfrois

July 2021

Victorian London’s Air of the Future

Victorian London’s Air of the Future

The Doom of the Great City imagines the entire population of London choked to death under a soot-filled fog. The story is told by the event’s lone survivor sixty years later...

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Liberia, Mexico and Racial Republicanism

Liberia, Mexico and Racial Republicanism

Colonizationism was not merely a part of the debate over wartime emancipation but rather reflected the United States’ race-based imperial ambitions...

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Douglas Penick: House of Spiritual Retreat

Douglas Penick: House of Spiritual Retreat

You cannot understand this building’s purpose, but you  know that you have just encountered a poetic even mythic work of architecture...

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More Absurdity Than Logic

More Absurdity Than Logic

Don’t we go to literature to find the logic that might displace the absurdity of our lives?

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Why was Biden’s victory razor-thin?

Why was Biden’s victory razor-thin?

The Democratic Party has been pulled far enough left that even lots of non-crazy people find us just plain scary...

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Sketchy

Sketchy

When it comes to matters of the courtroom, some cases are surely easier to empathise with than others. A sketch artist may have a personal connection to the plight of the accused or accuser...

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To Have and to HODL?

To Have and to HODL?

I decided to ask my six-year-old son what he thought money was. “Gold,” came the confident answer. It turns out that he was thinking of pound coins...

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Amongst Us

Amongst Us

Many SETI scientists now agree with UFOers that the first alien detection plausibly could occur within our own solar system...

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How Calm!

How Calm!

The first person to be photographed was a man having his boots cleaned. There were others in the same street, but they moved and became invisible...

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She’s a figure of the perpetually homesick…

She’s a figure of the perpetually homesick…

That nothing is told about her characters’ histories is a reminder of the fracturing effect of migration, so violently rupturing that it’s often likened to a kind of reincarnation rather than any linear progression through life...

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The Lyric’s Return in Black British Poetics

The Lyric’s Return in Black British Poetics

This essay considers some reasons for lyric’s return in black British poetics by first taking a broad look at the field, and then by attending to the work of several poets writing since the 1990s but publishing most visibly since the millennium...

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Chenxing Han in Yogyakarta

Chenxing Han in Yogyakarta

I miss many aspects of my chaplaincy training: the deep listening that can blossom in the most unexpected of circumstances, the twinning of action and reflection...

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Medha Singh: Photography, Function, Fascism

Medha Singh: Photography, Function, Fascism

Was Walter Benjamin correct in suggesting a relationship between art and fascism?

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George Orwell on English cooking

George Orwell on English cooking

It is commonly said, even by the English themselves, that English cooking is the worst in the world. Now that is simply not true...

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The Anarchy in England

The Anarchy in England

Recent excavations reveal much about the conduct of siege warfare during the Anarchy and its intersection with larger societal trends...

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The New Zhdanovshchina

The New Zhdanovshchina

This new world of ours, structured by the internet, is unrelentingly violent, as it is inimical to human freedom and human thriving...

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Carbon Era

Carbon Era

As power plants find more effective and eco-friendly ways to produce energy, they often increase their output in response to their elevated efficiency. In doing so, they also produce more CO2 than they would otherwise...

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The Browsers

The Browsers

I miss browsing those chunky, foxed VHS cases and, I suppose, their leaner DVD heirs...

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