Does the way in which buildings are looked at, and made sense of, change over the course of time? How can we find out about this? By looking at a selection of travel writings spanning four centuries, Anne Hultzsch suggests in Architecture, Travellers and Writers (Legenda, 2014) that it is language, the description of architecture, which offers answers to such questions. The words authors use to transcribe what they see for the reader to re-imagine offer glimpses at modes of perception specific to one moment, place and person. Hultzsch constructs an intriguing patchwork of local and often fragmentary narratives discussing texts as diverse as the 17th-century diary of John Evelyn, Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe (1719) and an 1855 art guide by Swiss art historian Jacob Burckhardt. Further authors considered include 17th-century collector John Bargrave, 18th-century novelist Tobias Smollett, poet Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, critic John Ruskin as well as the 20th-century architectural historian Nikolaus Pevsner.
Architecture, Travellers and Writers: Constructing Histories of Perception, 1640-1950