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Issue One
June 2022

Our first print issue, sprawling by design. Essays spanning the archaeological and the astronautical. Reviews of old books in new translation, and reviews of new books in non-translation. Plus fiction, poetry, anecdote, remembrance, collage, photography, and questions-not-so-frequently-asked.

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
Україна вчора і завтра
Oksana Forostyna

Україна не стала епіцентром світової історії раптово. Україна стала епіцентром світової історії знову.

Ukraine yesterday & tomorrow
Oksana Forostyna
Ukraine didn’t become an epicenter of world history all of a sudden; it became an epicenter again.
Review
Beyond thalassophobia
Walter Grünzweig

German vice-chancellor Robert Habeck has more than twenty books to his name: fiction, drama, literary criticism, and non-fiction. It is tempting to read his fiction for glimpses of Green political futures, and his literary criticism for similar clues. How experimental can a literary politician be?

Essay
The prodigal half-rooster
Linda Kinstler

When they were first released, Maggie Nelson’s On Freedom and Lea Ypi’s Free spoke past one another from half a world away. But both ask whether the many freedoms we enjoy mean anything if they are not practiced in public, and if they are not passed on—and whether the word « freedom » means anything at all.

Review
Place, non-place, place
Yamandu Roos

« What happened was that we were driving on the highway from Izola towards Koper when we saw a drummer on the side of the road. So I immediately drove to the side of the road and reversed my car and asked if I could take some pictures. »

Pearl
Optimize this headline for Google*
Alexander Fanta

Google’s rise to dominance can seem inevitable, and its power over publishers monolithic. Yet Google’s wanton disruption of publishing resembles evolution more than intelligent design. Journalists, publishers, regulators, and scholars are left grappling with our new, random god.

Optimiere diese Schlagzeile für Google*
Alexander Fanta

Googles Dominanz erscheint heute unausweichlich. Googles mutwillige Störung des Verlagswesens ähnelt eher der Evolution als intelligentem Design. Journalisten, Verleger, Regulierungsbehörden und Wissenschaftler müssen mit ihrer neuen, chaotischen Gottheit zu Recht kommen.

Essay
Bee Gees FAQ
Anne Diestelkamp

Fragen, Antworten, Quintessenzen.

Pearl
All is not vanity
Noga Arikha

Lose, delete, restore. What to remember when everything is always, forever, in a digital now?

Essay
« When I was silent… »
— Interview with Sulaiman Addonia
Sander Pleij

Stop! I am doing what they all do: presenting writer Sulaiman Addonia as one-who-has-suffered, because he grew up as a refugee. The problem is, in part, a problem of genre. Suffering has become an interviewer’s crutch.

Interview
On learning to write again
Adania Shibli

Ramallah, downtown, fifth floor. The phone rings and the caller's number appears on the screen. It's an unknown number. And yet a call that comes at this hour must be answered.

تعلُّم الكتابة من جديد
Adania Shibli

رام الله، وسط البلد، الطابق الخامس. يرن الهاتف ويظهر رقم المتّصل على الشاشة. إنه ليس لأحد معارفنا، فالرقم غير معروف. مع ذلك، يتطلّبُ اتصال هاتفي في ساعة مبكِّرةٍ كهذه الردَّ عليه.

Essay
How to write; or, how to insult
Claire Weeda

Shoulders were slapped, fingers pointed, hearts fired up. Perhaps a little scuffle broke out after class, a boisterous wrestling over insults exchanged. Nothing to be concerned about. Acquiring knowledge was, after all, a combative affair.

Pearl
Why we write
Ali Smith

A letter to George Orwell. « All narrative is hypnotic. Some narratives are more hypnotic than others. Because of you, we can be conscious of the kinds and the workings of the narratives that set out to deaden us, lessen us, make us lie, make us part of the lie. »

Essay
The void that fills the void
Irina Dumitrescu

Relics, and the places devoted to their worship, dotted the map of Europe and the Middle East. Saints, like today’s celebrities, were both omnipresent and faraway, once-vulnerable people who became something more than human.

Pearl
Ballad of a Homburg hat
Peter L'Official

On racial metonymy and the art of misidentification. (Meanwhile: has a glass of beer ever been more crisply and deliciously depicted? Has the froth of a European pilsner ever looked so delectable?)

Essay
A breast is a breast is a breast
Alide Cagidemetrio
To contemplate Pompeii is to contemplate archeology in its most extreme form, framed by the wish not only for discovery, but for resurrection.
Essay
On paths not taken
Uğur Ümit Üngör

As an academic field, « Genocide Studies » is a house with many rooms. It accommodates and even encourages a broadening of its central concept. And like all academic fields, it presumes its object of study will always be there.

Pearl
What is a pillar?
Rem Koolhaas

In 2010, OMA was invited to take part in a competition for the Damascus National Museum. It was part of a concerted effort to establish connections with Bashar al-Assad, toward a political « rapprochement ». Three months later, the entire effort was cancelled. Civil war was about to break out.

Essay
To see a city
Alexander Wells

« What if all fictional characters from novels continue to dwell somewhere, just like the dead? » Daniela Hodrová’s City of Torment (Trýznivé město) is a magical-realist trilogy set in Prague. Her fragmented narratives, sewn together, make something deeply European.

Review
Into the muck
Noam Maggor

Time? For? Socialism? What happened when Thomas Piketty descended from the elegant mathematical Olympus of economic theory into the muck of political and economic crises, public debates, social confrontations, and competing visions of progress?

Review
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
설탕생쥐
Kim Hyesoon / 김혜순

A poem, plus a note on tongue-like mice and the translation of mice-like tongues.

Sugar Mouse
Kim Hyesoon / 김혜순

A poem, plus a note on tongue-like mice and the translation of mice-like tongues

Pearl
Animal Anti-Cities
Jannes Riemann

« A black cat sneaks across a flower bed toward a shed, past some asters, and squeezes into a gap an arm's width wide. Some worn-down club-goers lay wasted on sofas, sweat and smoke in a late-summer landscape. » On Berlin clubs and Calvino's cat flâneurs.

Animalische Anti-Städte
Jannes Riemann

« Eine schwarze Katze huscht über ein Blumenbeet in Richtung eines Holzverschlags, an einigen Astern vorbei drückt sie sich in eine armbreite Lücke. Einige Abgefeierte lümmeln auf Sofas; in Schweiß und Rauch in dieser spätsommerlichen Club-Landschaft. » Über Berliner Clubs und Calvinos Katzenflaneure.

Pearl
Женщина—это и есть пространство
Caroline Tracey

Пространство—это ключевое слово в понимании литературной и философической истории России. Оксана Васякина переделывает русское пространство—и русский роман—для женских миров.

Woman is space
Caroline Tracey

« Space », or prostranstvo, is a key word for understanding the literary and philosophical history of Russia. Oksana Vasyakina’s Rana (Wound), a Siberian road novel, remakes the Russian landscape and the Russian novel for women’s worlds. It renders prostranstvo unruly, polysemous, queer.

Review
Firsts in space
Artemy M. Kalinovsky

A friend of mine likes to say that the moon landing was real, but dumb. On astronautical tokenism.

Pearl
Cretan Europa’s second coming
Kalypso Nicolaïdis

Citizen’s day in Fiesole, December 2021. In the EU, Christian Europe stands in quantum superposition, both here and not here. Can Cretan Europa help us imagine better futures?

Essay
€ 0
George Blaustein
No one would have understood both the sentiment and the absurdity more keenly than Marx himself—whose face has adorned real currencies in more countries than anyone else’s, with the possible exception of Elizabeth II.
Pearl
¿Quién hablará Européen? Un puzle
Arman Basurto

La capital de Europa es, en ese sentido, un espejo cóncavo que devuelve un reflejo concentrado (y algo deforme) de la imagen que proyecta el continente.

Who will speak European? A puzzle
Arman Basurto

Brussels is a concave mirror that returns a concentrated (and somewhat distorted) reflection of the projection of its continent.

Pearl
Eat the dust
Patricio Pron

Søren Kierkegaard compared reading reviews of his books to « the long martyrdom of being trampled to death by geese. » What martyrdoms does today’s bookishness portend?

Essay
It wasn’t the beer
Ingo Niermann

How could it be that despite decades of rigorous European unification, of open borders and largely adjusted standards of living, a virus was able to kill up to 40 times more people in one country than in another, only a few hundred kilometers away?

Es war nicht das Bier
Ingo Niermann

Wie konnte es sein, dass trotz jahrzehntelanger rigoroser europäischer Einigung, offener Grenzen und weitgehend angeglichener Lebensstandards ein Virus in einem Land bis zu 40 Mal mehr Menschen töten konnte als in einem anderen, nur wenige hundert Kilometer entfernt?

Pearl
Metaphrasis
Menachem Kaiser

A short story about fiction, from the author of Plunder.

Story
Unclaimed, claimed, unclaimable
Floor Koomen

On unrecognized states, micronations and curious border zones.

Pearl
A kayak in Zierikzee
George Blaustein

Was a Dutch town founded by Inuits in the 9th century? On American discoveries of Europe.

Essay
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