Freedom, the Spring 2023 issue of Lapham’s Quarterly, takes a tour through stories about liberty told by people around the world as our notions of it have shifted from age to age. The issue features one hundred voices, from ancient arguments about free will, political rights, and the treatment of manumitted slaves to contemporary debates about power, access, and opportunity.
Franklin D. Roosevelt spoke of the Four Freedoms; this issue shows that a far greater number are being fought for—and over—at every moment. The definition can shift endlessly when viewed from different perspectives, a fact demonstrated throughout the issue by contributors such as a fifteenth-century Noh performer, a British monarch, a medieval nun, a U.S. Supreme Court justice, and a Huron chief visiting Montreal in 1695.
The issue also includes original essays by novelist and social critic Curtis White; writer, filmmaker, and activist Astra Taylor; and Nadja Durbach, a professor of history at the University of Utah, who has written an account of the movement that emerged in nineteenth-century England in opposition to compulsory smallpox inoculation.