Six Tuscan Poets, by Giorgio Vasari, 1544.

Six Tuscan Poets, by Giorgio Vasari, 1544. Minneapolis Institute of Arts, Minnesota.


Volume V, Number 2 | spring 2012


Word Order

By Lewis H. Lapham

The Internet is blessed with undoubtedly miraculous applications, but language is not yet one of them. Technology cannot displace the primacy of words.



From 1929 to 1965, Sherman Billingsley ran the Stork Club, called by columnist Walter Winchell “New York’s New Yorkiest place.” Among its patrons were Orson Welles, Grace Kelly, Tallulah Bankhead, and Frank Sinatra. When photographed by Alfred Eisenstaedt for Life in 1944, Billingsley shared the hand signals he used to communicate with his waiters: hand on tie (no bill for the table); hand touching nose (unimportant people, do not cash their checks); hands interlocked, thumb raised (get them out and don’t let them back in); and pulling ear (summon me to a phone call).

The more the pleasures of the body fade away, the greater to me is the pleasure and charm of conversation.

- Plato, c. 375 BC


LQ Podcast

#09 Michael Kazin

Lewis Lapham talks to Michael Kazin, author of War Against War: The American Fight for Peace, 1914-1918. More