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By Martin Bressani

Notre-Dame in Paris, the walled urban of Carcassone, the castle at Pierrefonds, visionary tasks utilizing iron construction...Eugene-Emmanuel Viollet-le-Duc's value inside sleek structure can't be overstated. Hailed as one of many key theoreticians of modernism, he used to be additionally the main popular recovery architect of his age, a celebrated medieval archaeologist and a fervent champion of Gothic revivalism. He released probably the most influential texts within the historical past of recent structure comparable to the Dictionnaire raisonne de l'architecture francaise du XIe au XVIe siecle and Entretiens sur l'architecture, but additionally reviews on conflict, geology and racial historical past. Martin Bressani expertly strains Viollet-le-Duc's complicated highbrow improvement, mapping the attitudes he followed towards the previous, exhibiting how recovery, in all its layered that means, formed his outlook. via his lifestyles trip, we persist with the course wherein the technological topic was once born out of nineteenth-century historicism.

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Extra resources for Architecture and the Historical Imagination: Eugène-Emmanuel Viollet-le-Duc, 1814–1879

Sample text

Eugénie entirely trusted her brother’s judgement on literary and artistic matters and she envisaged his mentorship of her son as the best means to fulfill her high expectations. ”59 From a number of remarks in the vast body of the family correspondence, we get a distinct sense that the mother’s love became a bargaining chip in Delécluze’s dealings with the son: young Eugène was to work always harder and behave always better in order to dispel the gloom that regularly lay on his mother’s brow. Not only did he have to cope with the trials inherent in having a melancholic (or manic-depressive) parent, but he also had to bear the extra guilt and responsibility Delécluze imposed on him as he tied the mother’s well-being to the son’s performance.

The crowd blocking his way in the church signifies his own inability to perform what is expected of him. Finally, the synesthetic panic is the complete upheaval of his world when he sees and hears his mother’s words of reproach, catastrophically losing in the capacity of language to communicate. It could be construed as a seamless transposition, yet one element still needs to be introduced to account for the extreme violence of Viollet-le-Duc’s description of this childhood incident: the actual loss of his mother in June 1832, which caused a developmental arrest.

Delécluze eventually drew from his acquaintance with famous men, and particularly his famous teacher, Jacques-Louis David, a sort of borrowed prestige, writing books of memoirs that attracted attention. Of a more reserved temperament, Emmanuel Viollet-le-Duc despised Delécluze’s boastfulness, but he bore nonetheless a deeply felt resentment at his own lackluster career. Emmanuel’s failure to embark on a literary career seems particularly unfortunate, as he was a man of real sensibility and talent, with a distinctly original turn of mind (Fig.

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