Specialist periodicals 3: Lapham's Quarterly

PD has always had the opinion that people need to be versed in history, not just because it is interesting but because it teaches us how people think and how the world came to be as it is.

Catching tweets, watching television news, reading some newspapers or looking it up on the internet often gives a distorted view of events. Headlines tend to be misleading, sometimes deliberately so, and stories lack context. Unfortunately this distortion also shapes public opinion.

Distortion of news is not new - George Orwell, who fought in the Spanish Civil War and recorded his experiences in his book "Homage to Catalonia", commented on his return to the United Kingdom that he could not believe that the newspaper accounts of the battles he had been in were the same ones.

Lewis H. Lapham has a similar philosophy and started Lapham's Quarterly a few years ago. He is an American author of many books, and is a past editor of Harper's Magazine. In the words from his website, "Lapham’s Quarterly embodies the belief that history is the root of all education, scientific and literary as well as political and economic."

Each issue is based on a theme, such as disaster, youth, revolution and luck (the current theme), and draws on original writers and documents spanning centuries, from ancient to modern.

The journal is printed on top quality paper, bound as a paperback. Inside it is beautifully illustrated with drawings, paintings, photographs and charts.

[Painting: The Finding of Moses, Paolo Veronese, c1580.]

The essays are high quality and contributors are from all centuries, such as Baltasar Gracián (1601-1658), and the better known Niccolò Machiavelli (1469 - 1527).

Although in PD's opinion this is largely a scholarly work, it will appeal to those with a more than a fleeting interest about world events and how they were shaped.


FOR THE CURIOUS 1: Next week, in the last post in the current series, PD will focus on lovers of fiction stories. There will also be a bonus as PD has run out of weekends for August.

FOR THE CURIOUS 2: A while ago PD announced that a portrait of him would be unveiled. This, despite PD being a rather reclusive creature, shy of the public eye, will be unveiled next week. The artist has completed this work and all the legal formalities (copyright and trademark) have been completed.

Note: photographs and illustrations are from the relevant websites and are the copyright of the respective owners.

Note: PD does not get sponsored by any company and chooses to write about products that catch his eye while on the prowl, without the makers' knowledge. That way he remains impartial.

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