Back to the Capitol

Jeffrey F. Meyer

in Myths in Stone

Published by University of California Press

Published in print February 2001 | ISBN: 9780520214811
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520921344 | DOI:
Back to the Capitol

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This chapter presents a survey of the responses of poets and novelists to capital and Capitol. At the last stop on the self-devised pilgrimage, these views stand as a summary of recent changes in the capital and as an argument for the mutability of its symbolism. Much of the Capitol's art can be considered a response to historical crises and ideological challenges. The concern of the nation with unity is addressed ceaselessly in the art and architecture of the Capitol. It also addresses some uncensored responses to the Capitol and to the city as a whole, particularly the work of writers and poets. It is noted that calling Washington “a myth in stone” may be misleading, since the stuff of its symbols is clearly composed of a more malleable material and always open to new interpretations.

Keywords: Washington; Capitol; art; architecture; myth

Chapter.  11690 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Religious Studies

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