Opinions and analysis from Lapham’s Quarterly writers and editors.

October 22, 2014

September 11, 2014

The Presumption of Youth

By Elias Altman

The reason so many coming-of-age tales revolve around boarding schools is that they are the perfect setting for the unique and incredible experience is a part of growing up.

Read More

August 16, 2014

Early Work

By Rebecca Onion

The childhood scribblings of writers far more famous than I can be found online in the vast attic of digital archives. Most of the juvenilia available on the Web date to the nineteenth century, when middle- and upper-class childhood was increasingly prized, and kids’ ephemera more likely to be saved.

Read More

August 12, 2014

The Great Comic Book Conflagration

By Jacqui Shine

In October of 1948, the students of Spencer Graded School in West Virginia gained national attention when a thirteen-year-old led his classmates in “burial rites” for their comic books, declaring that the funeral "will benefit ourselves, our community and our country.”

Read More

August 01, 2014

On Pediatrics

By Caleb Gardner

"Do pediatrics,” my friend insisted as I approached my fourth and last year in medical school. “It’s really chill.” This seemed like sound advice, and not long after I found myself in front of a large, new building devoted to long-term pediatric care.

Read More

July 15, 2014

Wasted on the Young

By Elias Altman

"One has to spend so many years in learning how to be happy,” George Eliot lamented in a letter to a friend in 1844. “I am just beginning to make some progress in the science, and I hope to disprove Edward Young’s theory that ‘as soon as we have found the key of life, it opens the gates of death.’”

Read More

July 15, 2014

Alternative Histories

By Miles Klee

When homegrown radicals decide to take what they often call revolutionary action—with a bomb, a gun, or worse—their visions often have little to do with the reform of government, and everything to do with a maniacal will to shape another world.

Read More

May 12, 2014

Making the Argument

By Elias Altman

I spent much of my freshman year of college on the verge of becoming a card-carrying socialist but somehow always knew I would not. This was late 2003, George W. Bush had recently unleashed shock and awe upon Iraq, and in Burlington, Vermont, where I was attending my state’s university, there was a small and active cell of the International Socialist Organization.

Read More

May 01, 2014

Gilt by Association

By Sarah Marshall

The Marie Antoinette cliché is easy to not just summon, but accessorize: there is the pouf, the diamond necklace, the dressmaker’s bills, and the toy farm. There is the fat husband, the overbearing mother, and the dashing Swedish count. And then there are the turns of phrase both too flippant and too penitent to really be believed: “let them eat cake,” as she presumably nibbled her own, and “forgive me, sir, I did not mean to do it,” as she stepped on her executioner’s foot.

Read More

April 28, 2014

Trotsky’s Canadian Holiday

By Andrea Pitzer

Upon hearing of the October Revolution in 1917, the exiled Leon Trotsky and his family left the U.S. for Russia only to be detained at the Canadian border. Over the course of a month's internment in Nova Scotia, Trotsky slept with hundreds of prisoners in an open room of a decommissioned iron foundry.

Read More
October 15, 2014


2014:Ebola scares lead to increased scrutiny for travellers.

1907:Immigrants are suspected of spreading a dangerous eye infection.

September 17, 2014

Wurst Practice


German sausage makers are accused of forming a price-fixing cartel.


In 1917, the price of beer in England seems suspicious.