Not in the clamor of the crowded street, not in the shouts and plaudits of the throng, but in ourselves, are triumph and defeat.--Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
REDIRECT ALERT! (Scroll down past this mess if you're trying to read an archived post. Thanks. No, really, thanks.)
Due to my inability to control my temper and complacently accept continued silliness with not-quite-as-reliable-as-it-ought-to-be Blogger/Blogspot, your beloved Possumblog will now waddle across the Information Dirt Road and park its prehensile tail at http://possumblog.mu.nu.
This site will remain in place as a backup in case Munuvia gets hit by a bus or something, but I don't think they have as much trouble with this as some places do. ::cough::blogspot::cough:: So click here and adjust your links. I apologize for the inconvenience, but it's one of those things.
Tuesday, June 08, 2004
Well, no WONDER I couldn’t remember what it was.
The other book I had ordered through interlibrary loan was an architecture book--figures I wouldn’t be able to remember it. But it does follow the theme of autobiographies--it is Louis Sullivan’s The Autobiography of an Idea. In it, Sullivan (a contemporary of Daniel Burham and John Root, and a mentor to Frank Lloyd Wright) explores the genesis of his ideas of organic architecture through a third-person exploration of his childhood and growth to adulthood.
It’s an interesting read, what little bit I’ve been able to actually read since yesterday--although Sullivan is rightly boastful of his world-changing views of ornament and utility in architecture, his prose doesn’t have the rich simplicity of his buildings, but is Dickensian in its wordiness and grammar. Thankfully, it also matches Dickens’ humor and wry sensibility.
Sullivan begins with his beginning, naturally enough, with a bit of background on his odd assortment of ancestors--especially his grandmother, a slightly-monied woman of Swiss-French extraction driven to ruin by his grandfather, a man with much charm and a poor eye for investment. Sullivan’s mother (their daughter) had come to American with them to seek to rebuild the family name, an attempt which she managed to arrest with her marriage to an itinerant Irish dancer named Patrick Sullivan. Sullivan recounts his family’s influence upon him and his inquisitive nature as a child growing up on a small farm in South Reading, Massachusetts. In many ways, it is a typical American upbringing at the middle of the 19th Century--everywhere was newness and novelty, and a freedom that Sullivan seemed to sense even as a youngster that set America apart from the fusty Old World of his grandparents. Following is an excerpt of their slightly askew life in New England: More as I get further along in the book.
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