Merry Company on a Terrace, by Jan Steen, c. 1670. © The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Fletcher Fund, 1958.


Volume X, Number 4 | fall 2017


Hip-hop producer Devo Springsteen was once asked why he had sampled Nina Simone’s 1965 recording of the song “Strange Fruit” instead of Billie Holiday’s 1939 rendition. “Because of the rawness of her voice,” he said. “There is something really black about her voice. And when you are trying to make black music, there’s not a much blacker voice than Nina Simone.”

If one hears bad music, it is one’s duty to drown it by conversation.

—Oscar Wilde, 1890


Man and Woman Being Chased by Bees (detail), by Honoré Daumier. The New York Public Library, Art and Picture Collection.


The Perfect Swarm


The NYPD beekeeper vacuums up a swarm of bees on a hot dog stand in Times Square.


Bees take over a Los Angeles street as spectators watch.


The World in Time

Jill Lepore

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