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The Idea of a Town The Anthropology of Urban Form in Rome Italy and the Ancient World

Rykwert, Joseph

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ISBN 10: 0571106374 / ISBN 13: 9780571106370
Published by Faber and Faber, London, 1976
Condition: As New Hardcover
From Bryn Mawr Bookstore (Cambridge, MA, U.S.A.)

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About this Item

242pp. Green cloth with silver lettering on spine, gray endpapers, glossy pages. Red-orange dustwrapper, not price clipped (15 BPS), with white lettering superimposed on red-orange above a blackish-green illustration of an ancient coin; spine very slightly sunned, all lettering still sharp and distinct, else As New. No previous owner names or other writing in text or on edges. Size: 4to - over 9¾" - 12" tall. Bookseller Inventory # 003263

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Bibliographic Details

Title: The Idea of a Town The Anthropology of Urban...

Publisher: Faber and Faber, London

Publication Date: 1976

Binding: Hardcover

Book Condition:As New

Dust Jacket Condition: Fine

Edition: First Edition, First Printing.

About this title

Synopsis:

Roman towns and their history are generally regarded as being the preserve of the archaeologist or the economic historian. In this famous, unusual and radical book which touches on such disparate themes as psychology and urban architecture, Joseph Rykwert has considered them as works of art. His starting point is the mythical, historical and ritual texts in which their foundation is recounted rather than the excavated remains, such texts having parallels not merely in ancient Greece but also further afield Mesopotamia, India and China. To achieve his reading of the Roman town, he has invoked the comparative method of the anthropologists, and he examines first of all the 'Etruscan rite', a group of ceremonies by which all, or practically all, Roman towns were founded. The basic institutions of the town, its walls and gates, its central shrines and its forum are all of them part of a pattern to which the rituals and the myths that accompanied them provide clues. Like in other 'closed' societies, these rituals and myths served to create a secure home for the citizen of Rome and to make him feel part of his city and place it firmly in a knowable universe. 'It is refreshing to look at standard themes of the history of urban design from a nonrational point of view, to see surveyors as quasi priests and orthogonal planning as a sophisticated technique touched by divine mystery .... Rykwert's lasting worth will be to wrench us away from rationalist simplicities, and to make us face the fundamental disquietof the human spirit in its claim to a permanent place on the land.' Spiro Kostoff, Journal of the Society Architectural Historians

About the Author:

Joseph Rykwert is one of the world's leading authorities on the history of art and architecture. Born in Warsaw in 1926, he is a naturalized British citizen. He has held a number of university teaching posts in Britain and the United States. He is currently Paul Philippe Cret Professor of Architecture Emeritus and Professor of Art History at the University of Pennsylvania. The author of numerous books, among his most celebrated are The Golden House, On Adam's House in Paradise and The Idea of Town (reissued in Faber Finds).

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