The life of Samuel Johnson, would-be attorney-at-law

“The Third Otani Hiroemon as an Outlaw Standing Near a Willow Tree” by Katsukawa Shunsho, 1777, via the Metropolitan Museum of Art, purchase, Joseph Pulitzer Bequest, 1918


Self-help for your mind from centuries ago

Relief fragment with three monks, c. 1160, via The Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Cloisters Collection, 1947


How fasting rewired my brain

An emaciated Bodhisattva seated on a throne flanked by gods and worshippers, second to third century, Gandhara, via the British Museum


Notes from a high-wire artist

‘The Forest in Winter at Sunset’ by Théodore Rousseau, c. 1846–67, © The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gift of P.A.B. Widener, 1911


The marriage of twentieth-century avant-gardists Arthur Cravan and Mina Loy was blissfully happy — until his mysterious disappearance

Arthur Cravan, c. 1916.


A history of humans trying and failing to understand the minds of apes

‘Rôle de Joko’ by Charles Mazurier, c. 1826, via The New York Public Library, Jerome Robbins Dance Division


The correspondence of René Descartes and Princess Elisabeth of Bohemia — a debate about mind, soul, and immortality

‘Aristotle with a Bust of Homer’ (detail) by Rembrandt van Rijn, 1653, via the Metropolitan Museum of Art, purchase, special contributions and funds given or bequeathed by friends of the Museum, 1961


A neighborhood along the Underground Railroad

View of Waltham, Massachusetts, O.H. Bailey & Co., 1877, via Boston Public Library


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.

Roman-style interior swimming pool at Hearst Castle in San Simeon, CA.


David Reich’s genetics lab unveils our prehistoric past

Photo: Kris Snibbe/Harvard University

Lapham’s Quarterly

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