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


Volume X, Number 4 | fall 2017


In an 1899 treatise written while in exile, Vladimir Lenin critiqued the capitalist growth of Russian industries in which factory workers had replaced skilled craftsmen. Among his concerns was a shift toward the mass production of cheap accordions, which, he complained, “have nearly everywhere displaced the primitive string folk instrument, the balalaika.”

Music today is nothing more than the art of performing difficult pieces.

—Voltaire, 1759


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

Jim Holt

Lewis H. Lapham talks with Jim Holt, author of When Einstein Walked with Gödel: Excursions to the Edge of Thought. More