Design for a House for a Cosmopolite, by Antoine-Laurent-Thomas Vaudoyer, 1783. © Private Collection / Archives Charmet / Bridgeman Images.


Volume X, Number 1 | winter 2017


Castles in Air

By Lewis H. Lapham

The American democracy and dream are the building of castles in air. Whither goeth the one so goeth the other, these days up in smoke and the spout.



Home Loans

A history of seven homes—now for rent on Airbnb.



Roman architect Vitruvius hated the first-century-BC design trend of walls painted with fantastic images. “On the stucco are monsters,” he wrote of a house whose walls also showed plant stalks and candelabra painted to mimic structural supports. “Such things neither are, nor can be, nor have been,” he complained. “The new fashions compel bad judges to condemn good craftsmanship for dullness.” 

People can say what they like about the eternal verities, love and truth and so on, but nothing’s as eternal as the dishes.

—Margaret Mahy, 1985


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