The blogger with many visions™ is thawing. I just finished The Fighting Temeraire by Sam Willis. This book is more than a dry historical reprint; it is a graphic re-telling written concisely and colorfully and interwoven by the brushstrokes of J. M. W. Turner. I was particularly moved by this passage because of its present-day application:

“To declare that one appreciates The Fighting Temeraire is a statement that transcends our views of art and artists and makes a more profound comment about our approach to life. Consequently, that The Fighting Temeraire won the competition for the nation’s favourite painting in 2005 is deeply reassuring. It demonstrates that the desire to remember burns in Britain like the sunset in the painting itself. The painting is a memorial, and deserves the respect offered to all memorials. It is a reminder of a sense of duty; a reminder of sacrifice past. In that respect, therefore, we have no choice but to prefer the painting to others with less significant themes. To ignore The Fighting Temeraire is to be ungrateful – even ungracious – to the memories of those who have lived and died for us today. Ironically therefore, by acknowledging the importance of the painting we acknowledge that there are for more important things in the world than art.”

This is a quality book and your brain will swell with the history (naval and otherwise) moored to its pages. More importantly, it makes resplendent the rudders that exist all around us (if we would only muster the courage to look beneath the surface).

Postmodernism’s Pivotal Figure
“He [James Frazer Stirling] was, in a sense, the anti-LeCorbusier, or the anti-Mies, looking for ways to recapture some of the things swept away by the modernists’ messianic zeal—connections to history, place and the environment. What we build, he believed, “should not be disassociated from the cultural past.”

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