Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Whewell and Gothic Architecture

Speaking of Whewell, I find to my delight that the Internet Archive has a copy of Whewell's Architectural Notes on German Churches online, which it didn't last time I had checked. This work is one of the great classics of philosophy of architecture (like all of Whewell's works, alas, it tends to be overlooked), and is of interest even to those who are interested in Whewell's better known philosophy of science, because in this work he applies the principles of his philosophy of science to the study of architecture. (Notably, he also has a brief discussion of Gothic architecture in his History of the Inductive Sciences as a case in which we can trace some scientific progress through the Middle Ages.) Jonathan Smith has a great little paper online about this. It's also of interest as being one of the major works contributing to the Gothic Revival.

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