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HUMANITIES 235 at the end of the eighteenth century when Romantic writers and painters pointed out the emotional appeal of these ruins, their connection to local legends, and their role as concrete evidence of a glorious German past. This caught the attention of the Hohenzollem princes, for whom castle rebuilding was a part of Prussian domestic and foreign policy. They were the first ones to acquire some of these ruins and to have them restored, mostly in a rather ahistorical manner. Their example was followed by the aristocracy and eventually by rich members of the middle class. As these castles and their history became better known and as they caught the eye of scholars, more and more attention was paid to historically correct reconstruction or restoration. In addition to the romantic and political interest, other motives started to play a role. With the rise of German nationalism after the Napoleonic wars, these castles became symbols of national pride. An ever-increasing number of tourists came to visit them as steamships and railroads facilitated traveL This in tum strengthened local interest. Associations for the. restoration of castles were formed and museums were establishedin some ofthem. Eventually, itwas also thought that they could assist in the patriotic education of the young, and, partly to this purpose, some of the castles were converted into youth hostels. Taylor succeeds in showing how all these strands are interwoven, continually reinforcing each other. I shall close on a personal note. In 1951, at the age of fourteen, a friend of mine and I cycled down the Rhine valley, visited many of these castles, and stayed in those which had been turned into youth hostels. I had quite forgotten about this trip. However, while reading Taylor's book, many memories came flooding back, above all the memory of the general impression we took away: romantic castles representing a glorious German past, exactly the message many of the rebuilders wanted to convey. (HARTWIG MAYER) Vicki Bennett. Sacred Space and Structural Style: The Embodiment ofSocio-Religiolls IdeologtJ University of Ottawa Press 1997ยท 336. $29.00 Religious doctrine and aesthetic principles can go easily handinhand if the latter were to be expressed in a painting or a sculpture. But in a building made up of concrete materials and shaped by practical concerns at each step - the relationship can be quite tenuous. This meticulously researched work explores the intricacies of this relationship in the context of Christian beliefs and the design and decoration of church buildings in nineteenthcentury eastern Ontario and western Quebec. The book is based on the author's research for her doctoral studies. It is a multidisciplinarystudy encompassingarchitectural and religious history, 236 LETTERS IN CANADA 1998 as well as social and cultural mores of nineteenth-century Canada. Such a study calls for a certain synthesizing scholarship which Bennett offers in good measure. The period of Bennett's exploration is marked by many social and political changes in the lives'of the settlers in the region; these changes had an inevitable impact on the religious life of the people. Though almost all settlers in the area were Christians - Catholics and various denominations of Protestants - they carried with them the prejudices and tensions of their mother country, and tried to recreate a community - both secular and religious - as a mirror image of what they remembered from back home. The author has captured the subtle and not-so-subtle forces that created that world in a most engaging manner. The most prevalent style in church architecture in this period and in this region was 'Gothic.' Though never as succinctly articulated as some believed , Gothic architecture has had a long history in Europe. It had its detractor's too, the most vociferous of whom was Vasari, who begged, in a treatise on architecture in 1550, that 'God protect every country from such ideas and styles ofbuilding. They are such deformities.' About this Bennett quietly observes: 'While people may address many unusual requests to their God, this may be one of the few requests for the entire world to be protected from a specific architectural style.' Gothic architecture had indeed come to be synonymous with 'Christian architecture,' and was therefore regarded as most...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1712-5278
Print ISSN
0042-0247
Pages
pp. 235-237
Launched on MUSE
2014-07-02
Open Access
No
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