In Ruins

Author: Christopher Woodward
Publisher: Vintage
ISBN: 0307531988
Format: PDF
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In this enchanting meditation on ruins, Christopher Woodward takes us on a thousand-year journey from the plains of Troy to the monuments of ancient Rome, from the crumbling palaces of Sicily, Cuba, and Zanzibar to the rubble of the London Blitz. With an exquisite sense of romantic melancholy, we encounter the teenage Byron in the moldering Newstead Abbey, Flaubert watching the buzzards on the pyramids, Henry James in the Colosseum, and Freud at Pompeii. We travel the Appian Way with Dickens and behold the Baths of Caracalla with Shelley. An exhilarating tour, at once elegant and stimulating, In Ruins casts an exalting spell as it explores the bewitching power of architectural remains and their persistent hold on the imagination. From the Trade Paperback edition.

Ruins of Modernity

Author: Julia Hell
Publisher: Duke University Press
ISBN: 0822390744
Format: PDF
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Images of ruins may represent the raw realities created by bombs, natural disasters, or factory closings, but the way we see and understand ruins is not raw or unmediated. Rather, looking at ruins, writing about them, and representing them are acts framed by a long tradition. This unique interdisciplinary collection traces discourses about and representations of ruins from a richly contextualized perspective. In the introduction, Julia Hell and Andreas Schönle discuss how European modernity emerged partly through a confrontation with the ruins of the premodern past. Several contributors discuss ideas about ruins developed by philosophers such as Immanuel Kant, Georg Simmel, and Walter Benjamin. One contributor examines how W. G. Sebald’s novel The Rings of Saturn betrays the ruins erased or forgotten in the Hegelian philosophy of history. Another analyzes the repressed specter of being bombed out of existence that underpins post-Second World War modernist architecture, especially Le Corbusier’s plans for Paris. Still another compares the ways that formerly dominant white populations relate to urban-industrial ruins in Detroit and to colonial ruins in Namibia. Other topics include atomic ruins at a Nevada test site, the connection between the cinema and ruins, the various narratives that have accrued around the Inca ruin of Vilcashuamán, Tolstoy’s response in War and Peace to the destruction of Moscow in the fire of 1812, the Nazis’ obsession with imperial ruins, and the emergence in Mumbai of a new “kinetic city” on what some might consider the ruins of a modernist city. By focusing on the concept of ruin, this collection sheds new light on modernity and its vast ramifications and complexities. Contributors. Kerstin Barndt, Jon Beasley-Murray, Russell A. Berman, Jonathan Bolton, Svetlana Boym, Amir Eshel, Julia Hell, Daniel Herwitz, Andreas Huyssen, Rahul Mehrotra, Johannes von Moltke, Vladimir Paperny, Helen Petrovsky, Todd Presner, Helmut Puff, Alexander Regier, Eric Rentschler, Lucia Saks, Andreas Schönle, Tatiana Smoliarova, George Steinmetz, Jonathan Veitch, Gustavo Verdesio, Anthony Vidler

A Journey Through Ruins

Author: Patrick Wright
Publisher: OUP Oxford
ISBN: 0191580082
Format: PDF
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A unique evocation of Britain at the height of Margaret Thatcher's rule, A Journey Through Ruins views the transformation of the country through the unexpected prism of every day life in East London. Written at a time when the looming but still unfinished tower of Canary Wharf was still wrapped in protective blue plastic, its cast of characters includes council tenants trapped in disintegrating tower blocks, depressed gentrifiers worrying about negative equity, metal detectorists, sharp-eyed estate agents and management consultants, and even Prince Charles. Cutting through the teeming surface of London, it investigates a number of wider themes: the rise and dramatic fall of council housing, the coming of privatization, the changing memory of the Second World War, once used to justify post-war urban development and reform but now seen as a sacrifice betrayed. Written half a century after the blitz, the book reviews the rise and fall of the London of the post-war settlement. It remains one of the very best accounts of what it was like to live through the Thatcher years.

Postapocalyptic Fantasies in Antebellum American Literature

Author: John Hay
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
ISBN: 1108307825
Format: PDF, ePub, Mobi
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Even before the Civil War, American writers were imagining life after a massive global catastrophe. For many, the blank slate of the American continent was instead a wreckage-strewn wasteland, a new world in ruins. Bringing together epic and lyric poems, fictional tales, travel narratives, and scientific texts, Postapocalyptic Fantasies in Antebellum American Literature reveals that US authors who enthusiastically celebrated the myths of primeval wilderness and virgin land also frequently resorted to speculations about the annihilation of civilizations, past and future. By examining such postapocalyptic fantasies, this study recovers an antebellum rhetoric untethered to claims for historical exceptionalism - a patriotic rhetoric that celebrates America while denying the United States a unique position outside of world history. As the scientific field of natural history produced new theories regarding biological extinction, geological transformation, and environmental collapse, American writers responded with wild visions of the ancient past and the distant future.

Seeking Sicily

Author: John Keahey
Publisher: Macmillan
ISBN: 1429990678
Format: PDF, ePub, Docs
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"Keahey's exploration of this misunderstood island offers a much-needed look at a much-maligned land."—Paul Paolicelli, author of Under the Southern Sun Sicily is the Mediterranean's largest and most mysterious island. Its people, for three thousand years under the thumb of one invader after another, hold tightly onto a culture so unique that they remain emotionally and culturally distinct, viewing themselves first as Sicilians, not Italians. Many of these islanders, carrying considerable DNA from Arab and Muslim ancestors who ruled for 250 years and integrated vast numbers of settlers from the continent just ninety miles to the south, say proudly that Sicily is located north of Africa, not south of Italy. Seeking Sicily explores what lies behind the soul of the island's inhabitants. It touches on history, archaeology, food, the Mafia, and politics and looks to nineteenth- and twentieth-century Sicilian authors to plumb the islanders' so-called Sicilitudine. This "culture apart" is best exemplified by the writings of one of Sicily's greatest writers, Leonardo Sciascia. Seeking Sicily also looks to contemporary Sicilians who have never shaken off the influences of their forbearers, who believed in the ancient gods and goddesses. Author John Keahey is not content to let images from the island's overly touristed villages carry the story. Starting in Palermo, he journeyed to such places as Arab-founded Scopello on the west coast, the Greek ruins of Selinunte on the southwest, and Sciascia's ancestral village of Racalmuto in the south, where he experienced unique, local festivals. He spent Easter Week in Enna at the island's center, witnessing surreal processions that date back to Spanish rule. And he learned about Sicilian cuisine in Spanish Baroque Noto and Greek Siracusa in the southeast, and met elderly, retired fishermen in the tiny east-coast fishing village of Aci Trezza, home of the mythical Cyclops and immortalized by Luchino Visconti's mid-1940s film masterpiece, La terra trema. He walked near the summit of Etna, Europe's largest and most active volcano, studied the mountain's role in creating this island, and looked out over the expanse of the Ionian Sea, marveling at the three millennia of myths and history that forged Sicily into what it is today.

The Secret Lives of Buildings

Author: Edward Hollis
Publisher: Metropolitan Books
ISBN: 9781429982108
Format: PDF, ePub, Docs
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A strikingly original, beautifully narrated history of Western architecture and the cultural transformations that it represents Concrete, marble, steel, brick: little else made by human hands seems as stable, as immutable, as a building. Yet the life of any structure is neither fixed nor timeless. Outliving their original contexts and purposes, buildings are forced to adapt to each succeeding age. To survive, they must become shape-shifters. In an inspired refashioning of architectural history, Edward Hollis recounts more than a dozen stories of such metamorphosis, highlighting the way in which even the most familiar structures all change over time into "something rich and strange." The Parthenon, that epitome of a ruined temple, was for centuries a working church and then a mosque; the cathedral of Notre Dame was "restored" to a design that none of its original makers would have recognized. Remains of the Berlin Wall, meanwhile, which was once gleefully smashed and bulldozed, are now treated as precious relics. With The Secret Lives of Buildings, Edward Hollis recounts the most enthralling of these metamorphoses and shows how buildings have come to embody the history of Western culture.

Ruins

Author: Brian Dillon
Publisher: Mit Press
ISBN: 9780262516372
Format: PDF, ePub, Mobi
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Ruins is one of a series documenting major themes and ideas in contemporary art.

A Journey to the End of the Millennium

Author: A.B. Yehoshua
Publisher: Halban Publishers
ISBN: 190555950X
Format: PDF
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The year is 999 A.D. Christians in Europe are preparing themselves for the arrival of the Messiah at the millennium and religious fervour is in the air. Sailing from the North African port of Tangier to a small, distant town called Paris are a Jewish merchant, Ben Attar, his two beloved wives and his Arab partner, Abu Lutfi. They have come for a meeting with their third partner the widower, Raphael Abulafia who has been forced to turn his back on their previous trading partnership because of his new wife's distrust of the dual marriage of Ben Attar. The latter turns this annual trading voyage into a personal quest to legitimise his second wife, restore his honour and, equally important, to show others the richness and humanity in his way of life. A confrontation ensues between people of different cultures whose ways of living and loving are so different, and yet who are of the same religion, believe in the same God and in the same morality. Thus we enter a profound human drama whose moral conflicts of fidelity and desire resonate deeply with our times. A. B. Yehoshua has imaginatively recreated a medieval world with its merchant trade in great depth and sensuous detail. His evocation of one man's love is lyrical, erotic even, and A Journey to the End of the Millennium will rank with the best of Yehoshua's work.

Ruins and Fragments

Author: Robert Harbison
Publisher: Reaktion Books
ISBN: 1780234767
Format: PDF, ePub, Mobi
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What is it about ruins that are so alluring, so puzzling, that they can hold some of us in endless wonder over the half-erased story they tell? In this elegant book, Robert Harbison explores the captivating hold these remains and broken pieces—from architecture, art, and literature—have on us. Why are we, he asks, so suspicious of things that are too smooth, too continuous? What makes us feel, when we look upon a fragment, that its very incompletion has a kind of meaning in itself? Is it that our experience on earth is inherently discontinuous, or that we are simply unable to believe in anything whole? Harbison guides us through ruins and fragments, both ancient and modern, visual and textual, showing us how they are crucial to understanding our current mindset and how we arrived here. First looking at ancient fragments, he examines the ways we have recovered, restored, and exhibited them as artworks. Then he moves on to modernist architecture and the ways that it seeks a fragmentary form, examining modern projects that have been designed into existing ruins, such as the Castelvecchio in Verona, Italy and the reconstruction of the Neues Museum in Berlin. From there he explores literature and the works of T. S. Eliot, Montaigne, Coleridge, Joyce, and Sterne, and how they have used fragments as the foundation for creating new work. Likewise he examines the visual arts, from Schwitters’ collages to Ruskin’s drawings, as well as cinematic works from Sergei Eisenstein to Julien Temple, never shying from more deliberate creators of ruin, from Gordon Matta-Clark to countless graffiti artists. From ancient to modern times and across every imaginable form of art, Harbison takes a poetic look at how ruins have offered us a way of understanding history and how they have enabled us to create the new.