From the Temple to the Castle: An Architectural History of British Literature, 1660-1760

University of Virginia Press, 1999 - 178 páginas
Visiting Britain in the mid-eighteenth century, Andre Rouquet wrote that "in England more than in any other country, every man would fain be his own architect." Not surprisingly, then, several of the most important eighteenth-century British authors were also practicing architects: John Vanbrugh, a playwright, designed Blenheim Palace; the poet Alexander Pope offered architectural drawings for redesigning the houses of friends; and Horace Walpole claimed that the home he renovated, Strawberry Hill, inspired his novel The Castle of Otranto. The work of John Milton and Thomas Gray also exhibits an abiding interest in architecture. By examining the connections between literature and architecture in the work of these writers and by viewing architecture in literary terms, Lee Morrissey traces a narrative of cultural change in the Augustan Age and beyond.

A literary scholar with a strong background in architectural theory and practice, Morrissey examines architectural references made by these authors and architectural publications familiar to them. Each chapter establishes a connection with architecture in the careers of an author and then describes how a principal text -- Paradise Lost, The Provok'd Wife, An Essay on Man, Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard, and The Castle of Otranto -- focuses the literary and historical issues of the period in architectural terms.

While some twentieth-century architectural theorists have worried that treating architecture in literary terms robs it of its social function, Morrissey argues that architecture can be a language and still participate in political and social contexts, because language itself is political and social. The fruit of hisargument is a unique intellectual history of late seventeenth- and eighteenth-century Britain that will engage scholars of architectural history and landscape architecture as well as of literature.


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