Two parts in one volume, 2° (455 x 322mm). Pp., xv, 128, 102. Half-title and part-titles. Title printed in red and black with vignette. Recto of dedication leaf in heliogravure. 25 heliogravure plates (9 double-page and 5 double-page and folding), including the plate ‘A World Centre’ at the beginning of part I not called for in the list of illustrations, 123 heliogravure text-illustrations (9 full-page) including that of Athena, Apollo and Herakles on p. iii not called for in the list of illustrations, 2 lithographic plans with manuscript coloured lines depicting public transport systems and central city heating, engraved vignette to pt II, p.30, woodcut head- and tailpieces to pt II. (First 4 preliminary leaves very lightly creased, occasional light soiling and spotting, plate I dampstained, plate XVII with light marginal creasing and soiling.) Contemporary marbled-paper covered boards, recently rebacked with red crushed morocco spine, top edge gilt, others uncut (extremities lightly rubbed, corners very slightly bumped).
FIRST FRENCH EDITION OF ANDERSEN’S VISION OF A UTOPIAN WORLD CITY. Andersen was born in Bergen, Norway, and emigrated as an infant with his family to Newport, Rhode Island. As a young artist, he mingled among Newport’s wealthy elite, and spent some time as Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney’s art teacher. At the age of 21, Andersen travelled to Europe, eventually settling in Rome. There he pursued his artistic interest in monumental classically inspired pieces, believing that they stimulated in the viewer a desire for self-improvement. He devoted much of his time designing a perfect ‘World City,’ filled with art, which would motivate humanity to achieve a near Utopian state. The present work is the culmination of his theories, and may be seen as a precursor to later modernist visions, such as Le Corbusier’s Ville Contemporaine, 1922.
The book is in two parts. The first deals with the history of the city and monumental architecture, and seeks inspiration in classical and contemporary notions of city planning – Paris and Washington DC feature prominently. The second part details Andersen’s imaginary urban landscape, complete with works of art, for the ‘World City’. Olympic stadia, galleries for the arts and sciences, as well as government buildings are all outlined, and placed upon a defined grid plan with an emphasis on a grand central avenue acting as the axis of the city. ONE OF ONLY 75 COPIES ON JAPAN PAPER, the present work numbered XXVII.
[From the Community Collection, a public trust in Agincourt, Iowa]
RUZICKA-LAUTENSCHLÄGER, Hans [1862–1933]
Cityscape / Tightrope Walker / Seiltänzer
oil on canvas / 5 inches by 7 inches / signed
Austrian artist Hans Růžička-Lauten
“Tightrope Walker” may be a study for an intended larger work; it was likely painted at the scene. Despite the speed of execution, however — capturing the energy of the moment — there is little doubt of the wonder experienced by the spectators.
¹ An inquiry has been made to the Kunsthistorisches Museum Wien.
I am archipelagic, not continental…
Archilochus is one of several Greek philosophers known solely by fragmentary writings that have survived the vicissitudes of archaic libraries: we’re lucky to have anything. Heraclitus is also in that category and my insophistication has habitually confused the two. [Spell correction, by the way, doesn’t like that word—insophistication—but I do.]
Archie [is that too familiar?] came to my attention in an essay by Isaiah Berlin, “The Hedgehog and the Fox“: “Πόλλ᾽ οἶδ᾽ἀλώπηξ, ἀλλ’ ἐχῖνος ἕν μέγα.” “The fox knows many things,” Archilochus tells us, but “the hedgehog [knows] one big thing”. Berlin used the observation as a tool for understanding great literature, while I applied it to a eulogy for my friend James Tiernan O’Rourke.
Berlin uses the Archilochus quote to understand the differences, say, between two great Russian authors, Dostoyevsky and Pushkin. Hedgehogs, in Berlin’s view, see the world through the lens of a single defining idea, while foxes have a built-in multi-faceted approach; for them, the world defies such simplistic thinking. At James’s memorial service, it seemed to me that Mr O’Rourke had operated most of his life as a hedgehog and I interpreted him that way.
Ultimately, though, it seems to me to be the difference between people who like cats and those of us who love dogs.
Many areas of interest will have passed through Agincourt as fads, phases, or outright tomfoolery. Medicine is surely one of them.
What’s accepted as medical treatment these days has been a contentious topic throughout history. The 19th century certainly saw more than its share of largely unregulated medical quality as well as quackery. Quite aside from the craze for patent medicines throughout the years leading to WWI, There were a dozen or more alternative medical treatments derided by the AMA and its predecessors. Bet you’ve never consulted a Naprapath. I seriously doubt you could find one in a metropolitan area under 100,000 population. The same may be true for Homeopathy. Chiropractic, on the other hand, is more likely found in your phonebook. [BTW, do phonebooks still exist? Asking for a friend.]