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Byzantium Rediscovered Hardcover – November 11, 2003

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Editorial Reviews

Review

'An explosive, luscious book, with sparkling gold walls on almost every page; and it is also an extremely useful one, making sense of the work of, say, Klimt and Tiffany by placing in a fresh historical context.' (Timothy Brittain-Catlin, World of Interiors) 'Enjoyable...Bullen's thesis triggers new reactions to buildings and connections that you thought you understood, or perhaps had never considered...written in a lively and accessible style...handsomely designed, with opulent photography.' (The Victorian (magazine of the Victorian Society)) 'Brilliant...The range is amazingly wide: we meet Yeats and Ruskin, Morris and Tiffany; touch on Ingres, Cezanne, Moreau and Klimt...This book is a model of how history should be written.' (The Good Book Guide) 'A fascinating survey.' (Notes & Queries, bulletin of ASTENE, Association for the Study of Travel in Egypt and the Near East) 'A landmark work...the production values of this spectacular book deserve high praise: lavish is the only appropriate word for the illustrations, with more than two hundred wonderfully sharp colour plates. For a work which has full scholarly paraphernalia, including footnotes and bibliography, it will also delight and impress a wider audience. If there is a whiff of the coffee table, it is straight from the shores of the Bosphorus.' (Stephen Wildman, Ruskin University, University of Lancaster, Art History) 'Marvellously wide-ranging...Bullen writes elegantly and deploys his scholarship without pedantry. To state that Richard Wagner, Gustav Klimt and William Morris all emerge from this book is to give only a glimpse of its interest...Physically, the book is an object to be prized: the illustrations are uniformly excellent, and perfectly integrated with the text...a book which combines beauty with intelligence, and sophistication with grace. It deserves a wide readership.' (Gervase Rosser, St Catherine's College, Oxford, The Art Book) 'Any number of texts outline the Classical and Gothic influences in 19th Century art, but this is the first in-depth survey of the impact of Byzantium...In the late 19th and early 20th Centuries, Germany, Austria, France, Britain and America all looked to the East for inspiration that turned up in architecture, painting and decorative arts. For artists, think Gustave Moreau, Gustav Klimt and Louis Comfort Tiffany to start. There are many more, persuasively explicated and beautifully illustrated, in this pioneering volume.' (Chicago Tribune, Sunday) 'Manifestations of the exotic and theatrical complexities of neo-Byzantine influences on the 19th- and 20th-century architecture and art are the focus of this studious interdisciplinary survey...The author excels in interweaving Byzantine-inspired architecture and art with writings by Goethe, Yeats, and other authors...[T]he most comprehensive survey currently available in English.' (Library Journal)

About the Author

J B Bullen is Professor of English at the University of Reading. He has a long-standing interest in interdisciplinary studies, and his books include The Expressive Eye: Vision and Perception in the Work of Thomas Hardy (1986), The Myth of the Renaissance in Nineteenth-Century Writing (1995) and The Pre-Raphaelite Body: Fear and Desire in Painting, Poetry and Criticism (1998).
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Phaidon Press (November 11, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0714839574
  • ISBN-13: 978-0714839578
  • Product Dimensions: 10.2 x 1.2 x 11.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,162,039 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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17 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Joseph F. Bille on June 2, 2004
Format: Hardcover
As an ardent reader of Byzantine history, political, military, artistic and architectural, I was thrilled that someone had taken up the gauntlet and attempted to present a lucid exposition of the greatness of Byzantium's contribution to architecture.
On the face of it, this book is beautifully illustrated and clearly written....but don't pay too close attention to the text.
What, for instance does the purported homosexuality of Ralph Adams Cram have to do with his later post-gothic Byzantine phase in architectural design. What does it have to do with anything in this book?!
Now Ludwig II of Bavaria was also purported to be homosexual, and I honestly didn't realize he had a "unconventional,close and sentimental relationship" with Richard Wagner....not an image anyone interested in Byzantinism needs in their head....but aside from the fact that he was also likely quite out of his mind....again, what has that got to do with his architect's expression of later 19c romantic Byzantine Revival architecture. There may be a more substantial connexion here, but I think the author fails to make it.
I have always felt that errors in a text, outside of the occasional "spell-check" transgression say something about the authors thoroughness and attention to detail. What does one say to "Henry HOBHOUSE Richardson". Even if I didn't work for the firm that Henry HOBSON Richardson founded in the 1870's, as a student of architectural history, I'd never make that glaring a mistake or let it past my review and into print. That begs the question.....what else has J. B. Bullen misinterpreted or gotten totally wrong? Where are the other less glaring errors?
The pictures are great, but BEWARE OF THE TEXT!!!!
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By Matthew Milliner on March 24, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
It borders on libel to assign one star reviews to a book of this quality and beauty, as two have done so here. Alongside Robert Nelson's Hagia Sophia, Bullen offers an indispensable historiographical gateway into the field of Byzantine art, with trenchant commentary and gorgeous illustrations of buildings and art that have been long ignored.
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By Ellen S. on May 3, 2015
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Terrific book; I learned a great deal!
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5 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Christopher Jenks on August 4, 2006
Format: Paperback
This book has wonderful photographs, and introduced me to some buildings that I didn't know about. That's about all I can say about the book that is in any way positive. As an amateur architectural historian I found many errors - including consistently misnaming Henry HOBHOUSE Richardson. How could the author and the editors not find such an obvious mistake? This is not an insignificant "typo." Henry Hobson Richardson was one of the most important architects of the nineteenth century. Anyone with the slightest interest in architectural history knows his name and his major works. If the author made such an obvious error, what other errors did he make that I didn't pick up?
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