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.



Analytic philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein was asked in 1926 by his youngest sister to help plan her new house. He quickly became obsessed, taking a year to design the door handles, another for the radiators. Near the project’s completion, he demanded the ceiling be raised thirty millimeters to achieve his desired proportions. “It seemed indeed to be much more a dwelling for the gods,” wrote another Wittgenstein sister, “than for a small mortal like me.” 

People can say what they like about the eternal verities, love and truth and so on, but nothing’s as eternal as the dishes.

—Margaret Mahy, 1985


The World in Time

Holger Hoock

Lewis H. Lapham talks with Holger Hoock, author of Scars of Independence: America’s Violent Birth, at a New York Public Library event.  More