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A journey through times and cultures? Ancient Greek forms in American nineteenth-century architecture: an archaeological view

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  • Schneider, Lambert

Abstract

The presence of classical architectural features in modern Western architecture shows that knowledge from ancient times was travelling through both space and time. Yet despite surface similarities, the architecture of revival was very different to that of antiquity. The classicistic architecture of nineteenth-century America provides a clear case. In contrast to the Roman influences that affected the founding fathers, nineteenth century American architecture borrowed instead from the Greeks. Informed less by archaeology and more by ideology, the American Greek revival saw the architectural forms divested of original meanings and invested with the ideals of postrevolutionary America. Looking at the vectors by which the revival reached American shores shows a double distortion affecting the transmission of the signal from Ancient Greece, such that what survives the great distances and times that separate the two societies is in the end a very different set of facts.

Suggested Citation

  • Schneider, Lambert, 2008. "A journey through times and cultures? Ancient Greek forms in American nineteenth-century architecture: an archaeological view," Economic History Working Papers 22507, London School of Economics and Political Science, Department of Economic History.
  • Handle: RePEc:ehl:wpaper:22507
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    File URL: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/22507/
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    JEL classification:

    • O52 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - Europe
    • Z13 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology; Language; Social and Economic Stratification
    • O51 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - U.S.; Canada
    • L74 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Primary Products and Construction - - - Construction

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