Japanese folding screen depicting a scene from the Tale of the Heike, seventeenth century. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Mary Griggs Burke Collection, gift of the Mary and Jackson Burke Foundation, 2015.


Volume XIII, Number 1 | winter 2020


Advocating in 1790 for the adoption of card catalogues, the German librarian Albrecht Christoph Kayser cited the “common mistake of employees that they believe they will live forever.” Workers “arrange their shops without regard for their successors, considering them well kept in their own memory, without written notes, thus making it impossible for those eventually taking their place, or at least making it infinitely more complicated for anyone to pick up the thread of those who have been called to meet their maker.”

The charm, one might say the genius, of memory is that it is choosy, chancy, and temperamental: it rejects the edifying cathedral and indelibly photographs the small boy outside, chawing a hunk of melon in the dust.

—Elizabeth Bowen, 1955


The World in Time

Philip Hoare

Lewis H. Lapham speaks with the author of Albert and the Whale: Albrecht Dürer and How Art Imagines Our World. More