Design for a Machine, French, eighteenth century. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Elisha Whittelsey Collection, Elisha Whittelsey Fund, 1962.


Volume XIV, Number 1 | winter 2021


According to the Roman biographer Suetonius, the emperor Vespasian declined to use a labor-saving hoist in his construction projects. “To a mechanical engineer who promised to transport some heavy columns to the capitol at small expense, he gave no mean reward for his invention,” Suetonius writes, “but refused to make use of it, saying, ‘You must let me feed my poor commons.’  ”

Industrialism is the religion with “the machine” as the god going to answer all the prayers. Communism and capitalism were just competing sects.

—Dora Russell, 1983



Read It and Weep


Woman creates an NFT artwork out of Instagram messages with a celebrity.


Woman creates an epistolary novel out of love letters with a nobleman.


The World in Time

Sonia Shah

Lewis H. Lapham speaks with the author of The Next Great Migration: The Beauty and Terror of Life on the Move. More