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Issue Two
December 2022

Issue Two of Europe’s new république des lettres. Essays, reportage, interview, photography and experiment by writers from Europe and beyond. Wisdom for an anxious age and well-sharpened profanity for a vulgar one. New books, invented languages, resurrected darlings, and to every reader their own Dichter und Denker. Plus paranormal detectives and Chinese palindromes (read it twice!).

Skinned alive
Christy Wampole

Imagine your therapist assigned you to write your autobiography, after which you decided you were cured, so your therapist published it as revenge. Zeno’s Conscience turns 99.

Flags & bones
Mathieu Segers

On Curzio Malaparte’s Europe — and ours. The midcentury novelist read anew, on war’s aftermath and transatlantic romance. What was, or is, « postwar Europe », anyway?

Vlaggen & botten
Mathieu Segers

Over het Europa van Curzio Malaparte – en het onze. Een nieuwe lezing van het oeuvre van de schrijver, over de nasleep van oorlog en een transatlantische romance. Wat is dit « naoorlogse Europa » eigenlijk?

A recipe for word vomit
Wiegertje Postma

On pregnant silences, and how to abort them — via Jane Austen’s Lady Susan, Whit Stillman’s Love & Friendship and our own manners & morals.

How Americans edit sex out of my writing
Francesco Pacifico

What is editing? Two people who both lead a literary life — an augmented reality where the connections between existence and sentences are investigated daily — wage sensual war for the soul of the page.

The room I am in
Lilia Topouzova

Tight pants. Fashionable coats. Music. Defiant looks. On the last men & women who passed through the Bulgarian gulag.

The South Bronx did not exist
Peter L'Official

〖  A killed darling. 〗 Spoiler alert: it did.

A sangre fría
Caroline Tracey

Fernanda Melchor’s prose hits you square in the face, but its lyricism works differently in Spanish. On Veracruzano modernism, lyrical slang, and worlds so new that style falls apart.

Gerard Croiset & the adventure of the psychic detective
Nienke Groskamp

The clairvoyant Dutch grocer who charted the frontiers of parapsychology and lent a hand to the FBI. « Unbelievable but true! »

Curtain call
George Blaustein

An iron curtain makes a powerful canvas. Images from Sven Johne & Falk Haberkorn’s Aus Sicht des Archivs, documenting life in the former East Germany in the 1990s.

Possession, demonic vs mundane
Preeta Samarasan

〖  A killed darling. 〗 Not by the devil but by my fellow mortals.

Two palindromes
Yu Müller / 翟彧

→ → Pursuing / you lead me to come to the future.
← ← coming to the future, I lead you / demanding.

求索 & 层云
Yu Müller / 翟彧

→ → 求索 / 你引导我来未来
← ← 来未来我导引你 / 索求

The Archipelago Conversations, an excerpt
— Interview with Édouard Glissant
Hans Ulrich Obrist

An excerpt from The Archipelago Conversations with the late French Carribean philosopher and poet. « The archipelagos of the Mediterranean must encounter the archipelagos of Asia, and the archipelago of the Antilles. »

Of human children & language children
Svetlana Lavochkina

The first word I ever wrote was stsikukha: « pisser ». This is how my nanny Frosya called me to my face. On poetry and pathos in a bastard tongue.

Planes, tanks & automobiles
Pete Kowalczyk

You could tell the US army had arrived because the local garages had sold out of whiskey. Old maps, new wars & vanishing memories along the Polish-Ukrainian border.

Back to the office
Stephan Petermann, Ruth Baumeister & Marieke van den Heuvel

From the office of the future to the office of the past. What endures?

Coagulated soy juice
Fernanda Eberstadt

〖  A killed darling. 〗 Lucia Berlin belonged to a less sanctimonious age than ours.

When the world makes rags of us
Gabriel Rom

He spoke of painting like a starving man speaks of food. On Józef Czapski, Memories of Starobielsk and the art of observation.

An Odessa conga line
Yamandú Roos

〖  A killed darling  〗 Back to work? Back to play? Hard to say.

A can-can dancer performs a Christmas tree
Sarah Watling

〖  A killed darling  〗 Being alone in a new city over the holidays was wonderful and, as it happened, not to be repeated.

K-pop nostalgia
Mia You

〖  A killed darling  〗 Human idols are hardly perfect.

Of Anders & Kreuzwendedich
Sander Pleij

On two tales of racial metamorphosis, salted or sugared, one hundred years apart.

No money off a dead woman’s body (& other poems)
Nadia de Vries

« I like my tyrants like I like my heroes. That is, crushed by a giant chandelier. »

Ed Simon

On language invention. To desire some other perfect language is at once to acknowledge and to overlook the miraculousness of what we have.

Dinosaurs + dolphins
Caroline Tracey

〖  A killed darling  〗 A joke format that endured for precisely one week.

Longing + debt
Irina Dumitrescu

〖  A killed darling  〗 And — I failed. I replaced this paragraph.

Marx and the art of natural winemaking
Fernanda Eberstadt

The grapes are tiny, burnt to a crisp. It’s day two of the harvest, in late August — freakishly early in a year of drought and heat waves. What is wine?

Lorenzo Mapelli

A photograph found in Rome’s Porta Portese. The recumbent can also raise a glass.