Quick flick – Lapham’s Quarterly

by Amie in February 2012
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Lapham’s Quarterly is made up of 224 glossy pages of intellectual commentary and criticism on the issues of our time. Published four times a year, the magazine selects a theme for each issue and proceeds to map its historical significance through the ages. Established in 2008 the first four issues of LQ featured the overarching themes of Money, Nature, Education and War with beautifully constructed essays, art, photographs, articles, and artefacts. The graphic below traces the trade of tomatoes, black pepper and coffee over the ages.

The latest issue is its eighteenth offering and it places food on the soapbox of history. With an introductory piece by editor Lewis H. Lapham this issue features work from contributors both living and dead (including Alexandre Dumas) and discusses issues as wide-ranging as the industrialisation of food production and the paradox of food as an economic phenomenon (page 23), to Anthony Bourdain’s illicit tasting of one of the holy grails of the culinary world, the Ortolan (page 125).

It makes no difference if you’re a foodie or not. LQ’s mission statement cites Cicero’s statement that, “Not to know what happened before one was born is always to be a child.” There is something entirely refreshing in an age of 140 characters and atrophying attention spans to embark on LQ’s journey, “to forge men and women from Cicero’s children, to spread a love of history to anyone who picks up a copy.”


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