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John Evelyn as modern architect and ancient gardener: 'lessons of perpetual practice'

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Bullard, P. (2016) John Evelyn as modern architect and ancient gardener: 'lessons of perpetual practice'. In: Bullard, P. and Tadié, A. (eds.) Ancients and moderns in Europe: comparative perspectives. Oxford University Studies in the Enlightenment. Voltaire Foundation. University of Oxford , Oxford, pp. 171-188. ISBN 9780729411776

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Abstract/Summary

This chapter investigates some of the axes of parallelism that were drawn up during the quarrel of the ancient and moderns: historical, linguistic, technical and aesthetic. Its focus is on a French text that slightly precedes the main period of the querelle, Roland Fréart de Chambray’s Parallèle de l'architecture antique avec la moderne (Paris, 1650) and its English translation by John Evelyn (1664). The Parallèle exemplifies a mode of comparative, critical inquiry that was characteristically modernistic. But its translation and publication in England lifted it into cultural context in many ways at odds with that from which it came, and the consequence was a twisting or refraction of its meanings that tells us much about the differences between the French and English modes of the ancients-moderns quarrel. A further set of distorting parallels are provided by Vitruvian architecture’s own equivocal position on the fault-line between ancient and modern technology, and between degraded techne and liberal praxis arts. These parallels correspond with similar tensions within the broader experimental and socio-mechanical project instituted in the Royal Society, of which Evelyn was an active member during the 1660s.

Item Type:Book or Report Section
Refereed:Yes
Divisions:Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Science > School of Literature and Languages > English Literature
ID Code:65804
Publisher:Voltaire Foundation. University of Oxford

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