Reference > The Library > Helen Rex Keller > Reader’s Digest of Books

C.D. Warner, et al., comp.  The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes.  1917.
H. R. Keller.  The Reader’s Digest of Books.
A History of Architecture in all Countries
James Fergusson (1808–1886)
Architecture, A History of, in all Countries, from the Earliest Times to the Present Day, by James Fergusson (1st ed. 1867–76; 3d ed., 5 vols., 1891–99). The method of treatment in these volumes is historical, and the aim is to trace every form from its origin and note the influence one style has had upon another. Architecture thus becomes “one of the most important adjuncts of history, filling up many gaps in the written record and giving life and reality to much that without its presence could with difficulty be realized.” Still more important is its ethnographic use, for if studied in this way it may be made a more trustworthy and intelligible guide even than language to discriminate between different races of mankind. A valuable section of the book, “Ethnography as Applied to Architectural Art,” shows how the religion, government, morals, literature, arts, and sciences are reflected in the architectural remains of the Turanian, Semitic, Celtic, and Aryan races. Following the historical method, Dr. Fergusson then proceeds to deal with the architecture of ancient times, under the headings (1) Egyptian, (2) Assyrian, (3) Grecian, (4) Etruscan, Roman, and Sassanian. Christian architecture is discussed topographically and the great masterpieces of France, Flanders, Germany, Scandinavia, England, Spain and Portugal, Italy, and Byzantine countries are described and criticized. Saracenic and ancient American buildings are also included in a work of vast scope and immense learning. The author thus replies to the charge that he has criticized Gothic architecture with undue severity: “My faith in the exclusive pre-eminence of mediæval art was first shaken when I became familiar with the splendid remains of the Mogul and Pathan emperors of Agra and Delhi, and saw how many beauties of even the pointed style had been missed in Europe in the Middle Ages, My confidence was still further weakened when I saw what richness and variety the Hindu had elaborated not only without pointed arches, but indeed without any arches at all. And I was cured when, after a personal inspection of the ruins of Thebes and Athens, I perceived that at least equal beauty could be obtained by processes diametrically opposed to those employed by the mediæval architects.”  1

Shakespeare · Bible · Strunk · Anatomy · Nonfiction · Quotations · Reference · Fiction · Poetry
© 1993–2015 · [Top 150] · Subjects · Titles · Authors · World Lit.