More on Lapham’s Quarterly

This Online Exclusive is a companion to “Lapham’s History Project” (October 2007), containing a letter excerpt from Lewis Lapham, and a link to a talk he gave at The Wa
Letter excerpt from Lewis Lapham about his new venture, Lapham’s Quarterly:

Although we may wish it otherwise, none of us escapes the twenty-four-hour siege of new and newer news. We’re smothered in the feathers of the stuff—on air, in print, online, as broadcast, podcast, broadsheet, blog. Within the wind tunnels of our high-speed electronic media, the data blows away or shreds. The time is always now, and what gets lost is all thought of what happened yesterday, last week, three months ago.

Lapham’s Quarterly offers its readers a remedy against amnesia. Four times a year the editors locate the leading problem in the news—foreign war, financial panic, the whereabouts of God—and bring to it the wisdom of authors whose writings have survived the wreck of time. The method assumes that instructive reflections on the human predicament don’t become obsolete. An issue of the Quarterly addressed to the glory of military empire might open with the writings of Homer; proceed to contributions from Thucydides, Caesar, and Eleanor of Acquitaine; move forward in time to passages from the works of Dante and Shakespeare; come nearer to the present with the notations of Voltaire, Catherine the Great, and Mark Twain; arrive eventually at the table talk of Adolph Hitler and the faith-based initiatives of President George W. Bush.

The uses of the past are as rich in possibility as were the American forests before the arrival of Columbus, and I embark upon the editing of Lapham’s Quarterly as if on a voyage of discovery. You can join the expedition at

-Lewis H. Lapham
Editor, Lapham’s Quarterly

“Our Utter Destruction Is At Hand”
Quagmires: English and American, Then and Now

• Sen. Russ Feingold (D., Wisc.), May 24, 2007.
Remarks from the Senate Floor. Here, “Mr. President” refers to the president pro tem of the Senate, Sen. Robert C. Byrd (D., W. Va.), and not to President George W. Bush.

But why, I ask you, would we buy the Administration more time? Why should we wait any longer? Since the war began in March 2003, we have lost more than 3,420 Americans, with over 71 killed since the beginning of this month. Last month, we lost over one hundred Americans. Last weekend, the media reported that 24 bodies were found lying in the streets of Baghdad; all of whom had been killed execution style. 19 of them were found in parts of the city where U.S. troops have “surged.”

The Administration’s policy, Mr. President, is clearly untenable. The American people know that, which is why they voted the way they did in November. They want us out of Iraq and they want us out now. They don’t want to give the so-called “surge” time. They don’t want to pass this problem off to another President, and another Congress. And they sure don’t want another American servicemember to die, or lose a limb, while elected representatives put their own political comfort over the wishes of their constituents….
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