For Shame

by Rafaël Newman I had a colleague, a great reader, whose favorite material was mid-century Japanese short-form realism. Frequently epistolary and often featuring at least one frame narrative, these novellas typically have as their narrator someone captivated, not to say obsessed, by a memory; and that memory, it seemed to me when I read the…

Remaking The World

by Rafaël Newman The month of May begins and ends with festivals of rebirth—at least here in Zurich, where May Day, the “Revolutionary First of May,” is a statutory holiday, while Ascension, the commemoration of Jesus’s foundational transubstantiation, having been retained as a feast day by the local Protestant reformers, is routinely observed on the…

Plato’s “Symposium”: The Lost Epilogue (A Fragment)

by Rafaël Newman For John Duffy (November 5, 1963—March 3, 2022) …great confusion ensued, and everyone was compelled to drink large quantities of wine. Aristodemus said that Eryximachus, Phaedrus, and others went away—he himself fell asleep, and was awakened towards daybreak by a crowing of cocks, and when he awoke, the others were either asleep,…

Next Year in Prenzlauer Berg

by Rafaël Newman By a quirk of the calendars, Passover, the annual commemoration of the flight from bondage, is precisely coterminous this year with Academic Travel. This latter, a twice-yearly feature of the university in Switzerland at which I am guest teaching this semester, is that institution’s “signature program”: a week-and-a-half course, typically offered in…