W. Barksdale Maynard

in The Oxford Handbook of Transcendentalism

Published in print April 2010 | ISBN: 9780195331035
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks


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As the title suggests, this article takes on the architectural significances of the Transcendentalist movement. The Transcendentalists had considered several different aspects for constructing a shelter. Thoreau's Transcendentalist house at Walden was not merely physical but intellectual as well and, as the article states, it must be understood in the context of contemporary architectural thought. This period also witnessed new publications called “villa books”, which were different from the old architectural “pattern book”. Pattern books were aimed primarily at carpenters and offered only a dry text while villa books, with a rich store of pictures and prose, evoked a bright new lifestyle, intending to establish proper “taste” among the middle class. Through that, the readers were told, in a quasi-religious language, that the way they embellished their homes spoke volumes about their moral proclivities and had a potentially powerful impact on their families and communities.

Keywords: architecture; summerhouse; villa books; replica; rustic

Article.  3543 words. 

Subjects: Literature ; Literary Theory and Cultural Studies

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