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Issue Zero – Opuscule
May 2021

Issue Zero was our digital opuscule, in May and June, 2021. It was a start, coincident with our crowdfunding campaign, where we could show what we wanted to publish and reflect on the endeavor itself. What should be in the European Review of Books? What could only be in the European Review of Books? We wanted to show the gears.

Do we need a European Review of Books?
The Editors

« If I were to do it again from scratch, » Jean Monnet, a founder of the European Union, supposedly said in the ’70s, « I would start with culture. » Well, who wouldn’t?

From the editors
Infrequently Asked Questions
George Blaustein

Who, what, and why? Imagine something called, say, the Zemblan Review of Books, or the Esperanto Review of Political Theory, or the Klingon Review of Horticulture, or the Utopian Review of Bicycles.

From the editors
Europas & bulls
The Editors

A logo might start as a designer’s whim. Only then does one look for meanings to fill it with. On Europas: mythic, artistic, fictional, political, psychological, satirical, and finally unfinished.

Essay
The final frontier
Ali Smith

New short fiction from the author of Autumn, Winter, Spring, and Summer. A story about what’s ours and what’s not ours.

Story
By misadventure
David Mitchell

A short story about vertigo from the author of Utopia Avenue, Cloud Atlas and Black Swan Green. « Possibly a dare, or a rite of passage, hung in the air. Remember their age: most late teenagers are immortal. »

Story
On the anti-poetry of « crowdfunding campaign »
The Editors

The dominant crowdfunding platform is called Kickstarter; kickstarting was something you did to an engine. To « kickstart » the European Review of Books makes it feel like we’re riding a motorcycle in World War I. But we only want peace!

From the editors
Only stupidity is hereditary
Werner Sollors

There sits a donkey before an open book, held between his forehooves in such a way that we can clearly see the pages. It is a family tree of sorts, with eight rows of seventeen standing donkeys.

Pearl
The ordinary jacket of today
The Editors

One reason we believe so much in the ERB is that it doesn’t stand in competition with magazines we love; it joins them, and does so in admiration. This project has, in fact, made us encounter literary magazines we hadn’t read before, look anew at magazines we’d put aside, discover beautiful magazines in languages we wish we could read. We’re starting the ERB because of the new solidarities such a magazine can create.

From the editors
The pinnacle of cartography is the pinnacle of uselessness
The Editors

« Europe », drawn from memory or intuition. Thick and thin strokes of charcoal: a nod to the coal and steel on which the polity of modern Europe is founded. But more mystical, too. These drawings represent, says the ERB’s print designer Patrick Doan, « the conviction that simple tools can grant us the power to face the god of paper. »

From the editors
Stupid illnesses called « childhood »
Marina Jarre

An excerpt from I padri lontani / Distant Fathers (1987), the rediscovered memoir of Marina Jarre, available in English translation from New Vessel Press.

Story
Football is not football
Simon Kuper

How do literary movements arise? About thirty years ago, I watched one emerge out of nothing: the subgenre of « literary » football books and magazines. Not exactly the birth of modernism, but it still taught me something about how cultural transmission works within Europe.

Essay
The myth of 1922
Benjamin Moser

What does modern mean? Technically, etymologically, it means something happening now. But in Brazil, it often meant an embrace of newness as the possibility of reinvention. In Modernity in Black and White: Art and Image, Race and Identity in Brazil, 1890-1945, Rafael Cardoso unravels the myth of 1922.

Review
A messy optical process
Iris Cuppen

On orthodoxies & heresies of typography. To serif, or sans-serif?

Essay
A rather disproportionate intervention
Ijoma Mangold

An excerpt from Ijoma Mangold’s memoir, Das Deutsche Krokodil (The German Crocodile), available in English translation from the DAS Editions imprint of Digitalback Books

Eine ziemlich nachhaltige Einmischung
Ijoma Mangold

An excerpt from Ijoma Mangold’s memoir, Das Deutsche Krokodil (The German Crocodile), available in English translation from the DAS Editions imprint of Digitalback Books

Story