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


Volume X, Number 4 | fall 2017


Hoping to encourage hostages held by FARC during Colombia’s civil war, state negotiators commissioned a local producer in 2010 to create a pop song embedded with a Morse-code message and had it broadcast repeatedly on the radio in rebel-controlled areas. After the lyrics “Listen to this message, brother,” the code sounded as a synth interlude: “Nineteen people rescued. You are next. Don’t lose hope.”

He who sings frightens away his ills.

—Miguel de Cervantes, 1605


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