Details

ISBN-10: 022679220X
ISBN-13: 9780226792200
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
Publish Date: 06/02/2021
Dimensions: 9.80" L, 6.90" W, 0.90" H

The Ruins Lesson: Meaning and Material in Western Culture

Paperback

Price: $28.00

Overview

How have ruins become so valued in Western culture and so central to our art and literature? Covering a vast chronological and geographical range, from ancient Egyptian inscriptions to twentieth-century memorials, Susan Stewart seeks to answer this question as she traces the appeal of ruins and ruins images, and the lessons that writers and artists have drawn from their haunting forms.

Stewart takes us on a sweeping journey through founding legends of broken covenants and original sin, the Christian appropriation of the classical past, and images of decay in early modern allegory. Stewart looks in depth at the works of Goethe, Piranesi, Blake, and Wordsworth, each of whom found in ruins a means of reinventing his art. Lively and engaging, The Ruins Lesson ultimately asks what can resist ruination–and finds in the self-transforming, ever-fleeting practices of language and thought a clue to what might truly endure.

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Reviews
"Why is it, Susan Stewart asks in her deeply researched and gracefully written book The Ruins Lesson, that 'we so often are drawn–in schadenfreude, terror, or what we imagine is transcendence–to the sight of what is broken, damaged, and decayed?'. . . . Stewart is among our most erudite readers of poetry. She is a philologist in the old-fashioned sense: a scholar who combines knowledge of several European and classical languages, a historical awareness of the development and interaction of their literary traditions, and a commitment to philosophical aesthetics that one feels even in her close readings. But she is also a poet, and writes with unfaltering clarity and poise. Finally (a word Stewart might object to), she is a discerning art critic–a skill on full display in her new book."–Robyn Creswel "The New York Review of Books"
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Details

ISBN-10: 022679220X
ISBN-13: 9780226792200
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
Publish Date: 06/02/2021
Dimensions: 9.80" L, 6.90" W, 0.90" H
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