In Ruins by Christopher Woodward

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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.

About Christopher Woodward

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Christopher Woodward is the director of the Holburne Museum of Art in Bath, England, where he lives.
Published April 29, 2010 by Vintage. 288 pages
Genres: Education & Reference, Arts & Photography, Professional & Technical, Political & Social Sciences, Travel, History. Non-fiction

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(An equal-opportunity historian, he examines the responses in England to the Nazi bombing of English churches: some were razed, some, like Coventry, established as memorials.) At Rome’s Baths of Caracalla, in whose lush, verdurous ruins Shelley composed much of Prometheus Unbound, Woodward notes ...

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Publishers Weekly

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From Virginia Water in Surrey, the largest artificial ruin in Britain, to Ninfa ("the loveliest lost city in Europe") and the real life inspirations for the abodes of Miss Havisham, the Ushers and Ozymandias, Woodward ventures to Ephesus (where St. Paul preached) and the magnificently over-design...

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London Review of Books

Here, before the appreciative eyes of well-read and widely travelled visitors who knew classical literature but could also recognise the Enlightenment philosophers depicted at the Temple of Philosophy at Ermenonville, newly built ruins appeared, handily closing off a vista or screening a dull far...

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