Design for a House for a Cosmopolite, by Antoine-Laurent-Thomas Vaudoyer, 1783. Private Collection / Archives Charmet / Bridgeman Images.


Volume X, Number 1 | winter 2017


Castles in Air

By Lewis H. Lapham

The American democracy and dream are the building of castles in air. Whither goeth the one so goeth the other, these days up in smoke and the spout.



Home Loans

A history of seven homes—now for rent on Airbnb.



When a theologian renting from ninth-century Islamic philosopher al-Kindi hosted two cousins for a monthlong visit, the landlord increased the rent proportionally. His reasoning: a dwelling has a “limited existence.” A tenant enjoys this without the burden of ownership, then leaves the space “a dung heap and in dilapidation, only repairable at grievous expense.”

Men are merriest when they are from home.

—William Shakespeare, 1599


The World in Time

Olivier Zunz

Lewis H. Lapham speaks with the author of The Man Who Understood Democracy: The Life of Alexis de Tocqueville. More