Photochrome of a glacier, Grindelwald, Switzerland, c. 1890. © Rijksmuseum


Volume X, Number 2 | spring 2017


In his autobiographical novel Boyhood, Leo Tolstoy describes his youthful joy in philosophical abstraction: “I frequently imagined myself a great man, who was discovering new truths for the good of mankind, and I looked on all other mortals with a proud consciousness of my dignity.” His euphoria didn’t last. “Strange to say,” he wrote, “whenever I came in contact with these mortals, I grew timid.” Soon he was “ashamed of every simplest word and motion.”

How gloriously legible are the constellations of the heavens!

—Anthony Trollope, 1859