Untimely Ruins: An Archaeology of American Urban Modernity, 1819-1919

University of Chicago Press
1
Free sample

American ruins have become increasingly prominent, whether in discussions of “urban blight” and home foreclosures, in commemorations of 9/11, or in postapocalyptic movies. In this highly original book, Nick Yablon argues that the association between American cities and ruins dates back to a much earlier period in the nation’s history. Recovering numerous scenes of urban desolation—from failed banks, abandoned towns, and dilapidated tenements to the crumbling skyscrapers and bridges envisioned in science fiction and cartoons—Untimely Ruins challenges the myth that ruins were absent or insignificant objects in nineteenth-century America.

The first book to document an American cult of the ruin, Untimely Ruins traces its deviations as well as derivations from European conventions. Unlike classical and Gothic ruins, which decayed gracefully over centuries and inspired philosophical meditations about the fate of civilizations, America’s ruins were often “untimely,” appearing unpredictably and disappearing before they could accrue an aura of age. As modern ruins of steel and iron, they stimulated critical reflections about contemporary cities, and the unfamiliar kinds of experience they enabled. Unearthing evocative sources everywhere from the archives of amateur photographers to the contents of time-capsules, Untimely Ruins exposes crucial debates about the economic, technological, and cultural transformations known as urban modernity. The result is a fascinating cultural history that uncovers fresh perspectives on the American city.

Read more
Collapse

About the author

Nick Yablon is associate professor of American studies at the University of Iowa.

Read more
Collapse
5.0
1 total
Loading...

Additional Information

Publisher
University of Chicago Press
Read more
Collapse
Published on
Jun 15, 2010
Read more
Collapse
Pages
416
Read more
Collapse
ISBN
9780226946658
Read more
Collapse
Read more
Collapse
Read more
Collapse
Language
English
Read more
Collapse
Genres
Architecture / History / General
History / United States / 19th Century
Literary Criticism / American / General
Literary Criticism / General
Read more
Collapse
Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
Read more
Collapse
Read Aloud
Available on Android devices
Read more
Collapse

Reading information

Smartphones and Tablets

Install the Google Play Books app for Android and iPad/iPhone. It syncs automatically with your account and allows you to read online or offline wherever you are.

Laptops and Computers

You can read books purchased on Google Play using your computer's web browser.

eReaders and other devices

To read on e-ink devices like the Sony eReader or Barnes & Noble Nook, you'll need to download a file and transfer it to your device. Please follow the detailed Help center instructions to transfer the files to supported eReaders.
America has always been a nation of thinkers, believers, creators, and builders. Evidence of this is plentiful among the landmarks constructed in the 19th century. Buildings and Landmarks of 19th-Century America: American Society Revealed examines many examples that include homes, office buildings, recreational spaces, military sites, religious buildings, and other landmarks in a variety of geographical locations, discussing the background, architecture, and cultural significance of each. Each engaging, accessible entry not only provides readers detailed information about how the landmark relates to what was going on in American society at the time of its construction but also sparks the reader's interest to research the subject further.

As examples, consider that a rural cemetery built in Massachusetts in the early 19th century was the prime influence on public park design and led to the construction of New York's Central Park and many other public parks since. The millionaire industrialist and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie built many of the first free public libraries in the country, which led to the development of municipal public library systems. The huge success of 19th-century world's fairs, like the 1876 Centennial Exhibition and the 1893 World's Columbian Exhibition, had lasting effects on society through the many new products that they introduced to the public. Throughout the book, landmarks are analyzed to elucidate their influence on many aspects of 19th-century society, including the treatment of the mentally ill, impact of religious revivals, growth of leisure and vacation time, and housing for the poor and the western homesteader, among many others.

In the "How to Evaluate Buildings and Structures" section, readers are prompted to consider questions such as "What specific purposes did the building or structure have?" "When was it constructed, and what were the circumstances?" and "What was the need it addressed?" Students will learn about the period while also developing the skills of observation and assessment needed to analyze these landmarks and draw meaningful conclusions from them about their context and significance. The discussion of each landmark serves to help readers with these elements of critical thinking, assessment, and analysis.

In this exciting new book, David Michael Hertz demonstrates how three major artists - Frank Lloyd Wright, Wallace Stevens, and Charles Ives - were influenced by Emerson's nineteenth-century transcendentalism. By focusing on the relative statements of the artists themselves, Hertz shows that Emerson's belief that all things are in flux, including matter and spirit, had direct bearing on the form and content of their works. Hertz writes the book as a meditation on the condition of the artist in America, including biographical and historical information as well as his own interpretations of the three artists' works. In Part 1 he examines the emerging creative mind of the architect, poet, and composer, citing Emerson as the central figure who, through his essays, influenced each of them. By tracing their development as powerful and original thinkers, Hertz examines the processes that enabled them to become unique. In Part 2 he connects Emerson, Wright, Stevens, and Ives through a shared ideology, evident both in their critical statements and in their creative work. He shows how all three artists had specific documented knowledge of Emerson's major works. Their pragmatism, their preoccupation with the primacy of the senses, their predilection for analogy and loose metaphor, their dedication to individuality and self-reliance, and their eclecticism and conception of originality were shared traits and beliefs gleaned from Emerson. Hertz is the first writer to bring these four major American figures together in a single work. He makes it clear that Emersonianism reaches far into twentieth-century American culture and into the realms of art and music as well as literature. This book willinterest not only Emerson, Wright, Stevens, and Ives scholars but other individuals involved in the arts, the humanities, and interdisciplinary studies as well.
This is the first in-depth study of how the architectural profession emerged in early American history. Mary Woods dispels the prevailing notion that the profession developed under the leadership of men formally schooled in architecture as an art during the late nineteenth century. Instead, she cites several instances in the early 1800s of craftsmen-builders who shifted their identity to that of professional architects. While struggling to survive as designers and supervisors of construction projects, these men organized professional societies and worked for architectural education, appropriate compensation, and accreditation.

In such leading architectural practitioners as B. Henry Latrobe, Alexander J. Davis, H. H. Richardson, Louis Sullivan, and Stanford White, Woods sees collaborators, partners, merchandisers, educators, and lobbyists rather than inspired creators. She documents their contributions as well as those, far less familiar, of women architects and people of color in the profession's early days.

Woods's extensive research yields a remarkable range of archival materials: correspondence among carpenters; 200-year-old lawsuits; architect-client spats; the organization of craft guilds, apprenticeships, university programs, and correspondence schools; and the structure of architectural practices, labor unions, and the building industry. In presenting a more accurate composite of the architectural profession's history, Woods lays a foundation for reclaiming the profession's past and recasting its future. Her study will appeal not only to architects, but also to historians, sociologists, and readers with an interest in architecture's place in America today.
Gothic Antiquity: History, Romance, and the Architectural Imagination, 1760-1840 provides the first sustained scholarly account of the relationship between Gothic architecture and Gothic literature (fiction; poetry; drama) in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Although the relationship between literature and architecture is a topic that has long preoccupied scholars of the literary Gothic, there remains, to date, no monograph-length study of the intriguing and complex interactions between these two aesthetic forms. Equally, Gothic literature has received only the most cursory of treatments in art-historical accounts of the early Gothic Revival in architecture, interiors, and design. In addressing this gap in contemporary scholarship, Gothic Antiquity seeks to situate Gothic writing in relation to the Gothic-architectural theories, aesthetics, and practices with which it was contemporary, providing closely historicized readings of a wide selection of canonical and lesser-known texts and writers. Correspondingly, it shows how these architectural debates responded to, and were to a certain extent shaped by, what we have since come to identify as the literary Gothic mode. In both its 'survivalist' and 'revivalist' forms, the architecture of the Middle Ages in the long eighteenth century was always much more than a matter of style. Incarnating, for better or for worse, the memory of a vanished 'Gothic' age in the modern, enlightened present, Gothic architecture, be it ruined or complete, prompted imaginative reconstructions of the nation's past—a notable 'visionary' turn, as the antiquary John Pinkerton put it in 1788, in which Gothic writers, architects, and antiquaries enthusiastically participated. The volume establishes a series of dialogues between Gothic literature, architectural history, and the antiquarian interest in the material remains of the Gothic past, and argues that these discrete yet intimately related approaches to vernacular antiquity are most fruitfully read in relation to one another.
©2020 GoogleSite Terms of ServicePrivacyDevelopersArtistsAbout Google|Location: United StatesLanguage: English (United States)
By purchasing this item, you are transacting with Google Payments and agreeing to the Google Payments Terms of Service and Privacy Notice.