- Paperback: 144 pages
- Publisher: Yale University Press; Revised edition (April 17, 2008)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0300100612
- ISBN-13: 978-0300100617
- Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.3 x 8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 8 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #86,898 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Shape of Time: Remarks on the History of Things Revised Edition
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About the Author
George Kubler (1912–1996) was Sterling Professor of the History of Art at Yale University. He is also author of The Art and Architecture of Ancient America (Yale).
Top customer reviews
Kubler is not attempting to explicate the influences of history on stylistic changes in art. He is, in reverse, introducing the analysis of art forms to issues of historical change. This may be (perhaps suitably) a distinction of little merit to some. However, it is enough to curl the toes of at least some members of the anthropological community. Stylistic or symbolic interpretations of art through history--perhaps a more traditional history of art--are replaced by the notion that human actions or ideas, manifested through time, are reflected in art across history and that differing works of art can be recognized as manifestations of the same actions or ideas through time. If you don't understand this, then perhaps you are as confused as I am right now.
Kubler begins with the following statement of assumption: "Let us suppose that the idea of art can be expanded to embrace the whole range of man-made things, including all tools and writing in addition to the useless, beautiful, and poetic things of the world." He is therefore effectively expanding the definition of art to include all material and ideological culture, thus extending the more limited discipline of art history into the realm of general anthropological theory. Actually, Kubler is expanding the definitions of both art and history. "the moment just past is extinguished forever, save for the things made during it." The accumulation of material and ideological culture alone survives to represent the evolution of humankind. This point may be self-evident to the archaeologist. However, it is a profound statement nevertheless, pointing out, if nothing else, that what may have been perceived as limits of archaeological inquiry, may be, in fact, the actual objective of such inquiry.
The present is the intermediary between the future and the distant past. "Actuality is when the lighthouse is dark between flashes: it is the instant between the ticks of the watch: it is a void interval slipping forever through time: the rupture between past and future: the gap at the poles of the revolving magnetic field, infinitesimally small but ultimately real. It is the interchronic pause when nothing is happening. It is the void between events. Yet the instant of actuality is all we ever can know directly." With language like that, how could you not love this book!
Jeremy W. Forstadt