A universal history of ruins

"There are no more men without memory than societies without ruins" ..."A universal history of ruins" is undoubtedly the book of the year, a hapax in publishing, particularly archaeological, a work of erudition… devoted to the ruins.

"All men have a secret attraction for ruins.This feeling is due to the fragility of our nature, to a secret conformity between these destroyed monuments and the rapidity of life", Châteaubriand tells us in "le genie du Christianisme"

But what is a ruin, the return of culture to nature, or on the contrary the opposition between memory and oblivion?

From the first objects of memory collected by Neanderthals and evocative of the passing of time, to the plains of Babylonia, from ancient Egypt to the islets of Vanuatu, this story is very universal ...

Greeks and Romans regard the ruins as a necessary evil that must be learned to interpret in order to master them.The Western medieval world will face the ancient heritage with an admiration strongly tinged with repulsion.Faced with this tradition, the Renaissance undertakes a return of a type new to Antiquity, considered as a model of the present that must be imitated in order to better overcome it.Lastly, the Enlightenment built a universal consciousness of ruins which imposed itself on us as the "modern cult of monuments" .

Alain Schnapp's Wikipedia page and his ARSCAN page (Archeologies and Sciences of Antiquity).

Its publications (Cairn info site).

Some videos with Alain Schnapp on various subjects.

Latest Broadcasts

A universal history of ruins: from the origins to the Enlightenment Alain Schnapp Threshold, 2020

Guide to archeology methods Alain Schnapp, Jean-Paul Demoule, Anne Lehoërff and François Giligny La Découverte (4th augmented edition), 2020

Posted Date: 2020-12-22

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