In Ruins: A Journey Through History, Art, and Literature
3.82/5 by 159 users

In Ruins: A Journey Through History, Art, and Literature

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.

Title:In Ruins: A Journey Through History, Art, and Literature
Edition Language:English
Format Type:Paperback
Number of Pages:288 pages

    In Ruins: A Journey Through History, Art, and Literature Reviews

  • Larissa
    Dec 02, 2010

    An unexpectedly romantic book, which interweaves artistic and historical vignettes with Woodward's personal experiences in the ruins of Italy and Britain. Woodward sees ruins as deeply meaningful and ...

  • Batgrl (Book Data Kept Elsewhere)
    Nov 17, 2012

    This book is a compilation of quotes and history, with the author chiming in here and there about how he responds to and regards ruins. So you get tidbits like the following, about William Stukeley, w...

  • Diana
    Mar 24, 2010

    The author of this gem possesses a great combination--he has impressive scholarly qualifications (he is a museum director in England), and he is also a gifted writer. He gently leads us through the wo...

  • Lauren Albert
    May 13, 2012

    An enjoyable look at attitudes towards ruins--especially those of artists and writers. I hadn't read before about the "follies" where wealthy people had fake ruins constructed on their properties. It ...

  • Adam
    Aug 29, 2015

    In Ruins follows the same format as Schama's Landscape and Memory, grouping vignettes on painters, architects, and authors into loosely connected chapters. Woodward's prose is less defined, less artfu...

  • Pam
    Aug 18, 2010

    poetic, and intellectually delightful. nonfiction unlike anything I have read in a long while, the kind that makes you realize you had suppressed a wondering curiosity, a reader's hunger you didn't kn...

  • John
    Jul 26, 2009

    very enjoyable and edifying read about the perception of ruins from antiquity to the present, which might sound utterly boring to you, but i was caught up in the writer's deep enthusiasm, which is why...

  • Meredith
    Oct 19, 2010

    A beautiful study on the power of the fleeting yet immortal. ...

  • J2e
    Dec 14, 2016

    Partway through this, I was feeling remindeders of Charles Sprawson's 'Haunts of the Black Masseur' and these feelings were confirmed at the end when Woodward cited that as an influence. This is a cul...

  • Jennifer
    Sep 20, 2016

    never will a ruin appear the same to me. ...