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


Volume X, Number 4 | fall 2017


Humpback whales, which have a sonic range of at least seven octaves, create songs between the length of a modern ballad and a symphony movement, possibly because their attention span is similar to that of humans. Their tunes also contain repeated refrains that form melodic rhymes, suggesting that, like humans, they use these as mnemonic devices.

He who sings frightens away his ills.

—Miguel de Cervantes, 1605


The World in Time

Steve Fraser

Lewis H. Lapham talks with Steve Fraser, author of Class Matters: The Strange Career of an American Delusion. More