Detail of the center panel of The Garden of Earthly Delights triptych, by Hieronymous Bosch, c. 1500. © Prado, Madrid / Bridgeman Images.


Volume IX, Number 4 | fall 2016


“There were very few beauties,” wrote Jane Austen to her sister about a party she attended in 1800. The two Miss Maitlands had “a good deal of nose”; the General, “the gout”; Mrs. Maitland, “the jaundice”; and regarding Susan, Sally, and Miss Debary, Austen was “as civil to them as their bad breath would allow.”

Flesh was the reason why oil painting was invented.

—Willem de Kooning, 1949


A telescopic image of the formalhault solar system. A bright dot is surrounded by a cloud of smaller red dots. An inset shows a close-up of what looks like a planet, labeled Formalhault b.


Space Oddities


Exoplanet revealed to be nothing but a large cloud of dust.


Supposed irrigation canals on Mars are merely optical illusions.


The World in Time

Peter Fritzsche

Lewis H. Lapham speaks with the author of Hitler’s First Hundred Days: When Germans Embraced the Third Reich. More