The Burning of the Houses of Lords and Commons, October 16, 1834, by Joseph Mallord William Turner, c. 1835. © The Philadelphia Museum of Art/Art Resource.


Volume IX, Number 2 | spring 2016


“Pompeii like any other town,” Herman Melville wrote in his journal during an 1867 visit. “Same old humanity. All the same whether one be dead or alive. Pompeii comfortable sermon. Like Pompeii better than Paris.”

Pride and excess bring disaster for man.

—Xunzi, 250 BC



Your Time Is Going to Come


Trump humiliates underlings with firings; the media reports metaphoric “stays of execution.”


c. 40:

Caligula condemns underlings to fight wild beasts after they fail to acknowledge his genius.


The World in Time

Richard White

Lewis H. Lapham talks with Richard White, author of The Republic for Which It Stands: The United States during Reconstruction and the Gilded Age, 1865–1896. More