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Book of Ruins

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  • 2022

  • Engelsk

Book of Ruins offers a survey – not encyclopedic, but substantial – of leading moments when the fact and idea of ruins were taken up by writers, travellers and artists: painters, film makers, landscape architects, and architects. Gathering together short texts and extracts that describe and reflect on ruins, dating from remote antiquity (Scipio shedding tears when viewing the destruction of Carthage) to present times (the ruins of a modern city, portrayed in the film Requiem for Detroit), it provides a perspective upon what the past has meant to different cultures at different times. Following an introductory essay, the book includes 70 entries, chronologically ordered, each including an attractive indicative image (or two), an introductory commentary by the authors, and the text itself. The texts come from designers (from Bernini through Piranesi to David Chipperfield) as well as other artists (John Piper), and from literary figures (Goethe, Wordsworth, Byron and Shelley, Hugo, and Hardy). It concludes by discussing what we do with ruins by way of preservation, conservation, adaptive reuse and appropriation, and contemporary loss and ruin, as illustrated by 9/11 and the Neues Museum and highlighting the continuing relevance of the ruin.

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