Next book

HIS INVENTION SO FERTILE

A LIFE OF CHRISTOPHER WREN

For all aspiring Renaissance people, as well as for students of urban design, art history, and early modern European history.

Sometimes plodding, always illuminating biography of the renowned English architect and overachiever.

Christopher Wren (1632–1723), writes British architectural historian Tinniswood, came of age among unusually brilliant contemporaries. His classmates at the Westminster School, for instance, included future Anglican cleric Richard South, future poet John Dryden, and future philosopher John Locke. Even in such distinguished company, young Wren was reckoned to be unusually gifted, and he soon distinguished himself as a prolific coiner of what his family album called “New Theories, Inventions, Experiments, and Mechanick Improvements,” contributing to anatomy, astronomy, optics, cryptography, hydrology, military engineering, textile manufacturing, and agriculture, to name just a few fields. (He was also fond of performing medical experiments on dogs, the details of which are not for the squeamish.) A Leonardo da Vinci for his day, Wren was, Tinniswood demonstrates, practically as well as theoretically minded; he managed to thread his way through complex political tangles in a time of anti-monarchical, anti-Catholic revolution to gain favored status in the courts of several English monarchs. Though appointed professor of astronomy at Oxford at 29, Wren strove for greater renown, which he would achieve by designing St. Paul’s Cathedral and other public buildings in the wake of the Great Fire of London in 1666. As Tinniswood shows, Wren’s ultimately unrealized plans for remaking the city were well ahead of their time, though his trademark hybrid of Gothic and classical styles would be seen as old-fashioned toward the end of his very long life. Tinniswood’s account sometimes gasps under the weight of overabundant detail, but it adds much to our understanding of Wren in the context of his time and as a craftsman whose “holistic approach to design” and “need to control every stage of the process . . . were something new in British architecture.”

For all aspiring Renaissance people, as well as for students of urban design, art history, and early modern European history.

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-19-514898-0

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2001

Categories:
Next book

THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE

50TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...

Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

Categories:
Next book

NUTCRACKER

This is not the Nutcracker sweet, as passed on by Tchaikovsky and Marius Petipa. No, this is the original Hoffmann tale of 1816, in which the froth of Christmas revelry occasionally parts to let the dark underside of childhood fantasies and fears peek through. The boundaries between dream and reality fade, just as Godfather Drosselmeier, the Nutcracker's creator, is seen as alternately sinister and jolly. And Italian artist Roberto Innocenti gives an errily realistic air to Marie's dreams, in richly detailed illustrations touched by a mysterious light. A beautiful version of this classic tale, which will captivate adults and children alike. (Nutcracker; $35.00; Oct. 28, 1996; 136 pp.; 0-15-100227-4)

Pub Date: Oct. 28, 1996

ISBN: 0-15-100227-4

Page Count: 136

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1996

Categories:
Close Quickview