The Classical Vernacular
Architectural Principles in an Age of Nihilism
Carcanet Press (1995)
ISBN-10: 1 857540 54 9, ISBN-13: 978 1 857540 54 3, 1st Format: Hardback, 176pp
Roger Scruton is never less than forthright, and in his lucid and challenging essays on architecture he anatomises the spatial imagination of the age by analysis and comparison. The essays, from the perspective of 'the classical vernacular', explore the nature and meaning of architecture, defending architecture without architects, and the 'vernacular tradition', that 'vulgar tongue' which is the natural language of space, proportion and light. He provides a comprehensive critique of modernism (not only the heartless modernism of architecture) from a serious intellectual perspective, based in a philosophical aesthetics which he has propounded in earlier books including The Politics of Culture (1981), The Aesthetic Understanding (1983) and The Philosopher on Dover Beach (1990), all published by Carcanet in its collections of Scruton's major essays and articles.
Scruton, Anthony Quinton declared, 'writes with great force and freshness. He is humblingly intelligent. Above all, he is consistently interesting.' In these essays written over the last decade and a half, he proves Quinton right time after time. He looks at and through the work of nineteenth- and twentieth-century architects and appraises not only their achievement but the values that inform or distort their work in relation to those of us who live in, or alongside, their structures.
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