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…

Olga’s Book

by Rafaël Newman All my life I’ve been fascinated by the systems of mutual connections and influences of which we are generally unaware, but which we discover by chance, as surprising coincidences or convergences of fate, all those bridges, nuts, bolts, welded joints and connectors… —Olga Tokarczuk, Nobel Lecture, December 7, 2019 When I was quite…

The Eighteenth Brumaire of Donald W. Bonaparte

by Rafaël Newman It’s November 9 – what Europeans, with their rational, smallest-to-greatest date format, might call “9/11”, if that particular shorthand hadn’t already been otherwise coopted for the 21st-century world’s symbology. At the same time, Europeans, particularly Germans, would be hard pressed to say which of the several events to have taken place on…