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On the Ruins of BabelArchitectural Metaphor in German Thought$
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Daniel Purdy

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780801476761

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9780801476761.001.0001

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The Building in Bildung: Goethe, Palladio, and the Architectural Media

The Building in Bildung: Goethe, Palladio, and the Architectural Media

(p.193) 7 The Building in Bildung: Goethe, Palladio, and the Architectural Media
On the Ruins of Babel

Daniel L. Purdy

Cornell University Press

This chapter examines a premodern self-replicating network of travelers recreating buildings they had admired abroad. Andrea Palladio's Four Books of Architecture (1570) and the prominence of his buildings in cities and estates between Vicenza and Venice stands as one of the most successful examples of this premodern media circuit. More than just a backdrop for the idyllic production and reception of literature, northern European Palladianism was deployed as a technology capable of assisting in the conscious reproduction of experience. Through architectural and imagistic simulation, Palladianism sought both to inspire reminiscences of earlier travels and to encourage their repetition. Goethe's Italian Journey was a critical component of this network, reinforcing its operation even as the text sought to escape its terms. Despite his disdain for travel literature, Goethe's memoir became the best-known German representation of Italy in general, and of Palladio in particular.

Keywords:   Johann Wolfgang Goethe, Andrea Palladio, Palladianism, premodern media circuit, Four Books of Architecture, Italian Journey, travel literature, travelogue, northern European Palladianism

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