The Precision of Luck, by Joel Rea, 2015. Oil on canvas, 36 1/4 x 48 inches. © Joel Rea, courtesy the artist and Jonathan LeVine Gallery, New York City.


Volume IX, Number 3 | summer 2016


Legend regarding the horseshoe as a lucky symbol holds that in the tenth century, while St. Dunstan was working in England as a farrier, the devil entered the forge and demanded his hooves be reshod. During the process, the future saint caused as much pain as he could, and the devil begged him to stop. Dunstan agreed—on the condition that Satan never enter a house where a horseshoe is on display.

You never know what worse luck your bad luck has saved you from.

—Cormac McCarthy, 2005


The World in Time

Jill Lepore

Lewis H. Lapham talks with Jill Lepore, author of These Truths: A History of the United States. More