Desire not delight: William Lethaby’s Architecture, mysticism, and myth (1891)

van der Plaat, Deborah (1998). Desire not delight: William Lethaby’s Architecture, mysticism, and myth (1891). In: Julie Willis, Philip Goad and Andrew Hutson, Firm(ness) commodity de-light? : questioning the canons : papers from the fifteenth annual conference of the Society of Architectural Historians Australia and New Zealand, Melbourne, Australia, 1998. 15th annual conference of the Society of Architectural Historians, Australia and New Zealand,, University of Melbourne, Victoria, (405-412). 1998.

Author van der Plaat, Deborah
Title of paper Desire not delight: William Lethaby’s Architecture, mysticism, and myth (1891)
Conference name 15th annual conference of the Society of Architectural Historians, Australia and New Zealand,
Conference location University of Melbourne, Victoria
Conference dates 1998
Proceedings title Firm(ness) commodity de-light? : questioning the canons : papers from the fifteenth annual conference of the Society of Architectural Historians Australia and New Zealand, Melbourne, Australia, 1998
Place of Publication Melbourne
Publisher Society of Architectural Historians Australia and New Zealand
Publication Year 1998
Sub-type Fully published paper
ISBN 0734014392
9780734014399
Editor Julie Willis
Philip Goad
Andrew Hutson
Start page 405
End page 412
Total pages 8
Language eng
Abstract/Summary In Architecture, Mysticism and Myth the nineteenth century British architect and theorist William Lethaby identified a new aesthetic sensibility in which the conceptual boundaries separating natural, arbitrary and positive theories of form were blurred and ultimately removed.' The historian has long considered Lethaby' written and architectural works to be demonstrations of his interest in the "Two ways of Building": the arbitrary exploration of past styles or the search for positive honesty in utility and structure? In this paper I suggest that Architecture, Mysticism and Myth demonstrates that Lethaby's intention was not to explore the individual potential of such approaches to form but rather to develop an alternate proposition through their synthesis. The vehicle used by Lethaby to achieve this synthesis was myth. Identified by the Victorian mythographer as paradigm in which the modern disjunction of the objective and subjective was overcome through a Hegelian synthesis of opposites,' myth offered Lethaby a theoretical ground for a new theory of form which transcended the Vitruvian ideal of Delight and modem explorations of genius or efficient production. The nineteenth century mythographer Freidrich Max Muller described the 'other' suggested by myth as "a vague and vast something," "feeling of incompleteness ... a sigh [and] 'yearning.:" Lethaby described it as "building with heart."
Subjects 120103 Architectural History and Theory
Keyword Victorian architecture
Victorian mythology
Architecture, Mysticism and Myth
delight
building with heart
Q-Index Code E1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status Unknown

Document type: Conference Paper
Collection: ATCH (Architecture Theory History Criticism) Publications
 
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Created: Thu, 16 Sep 2010, 11:53:04 EST by Mr Andrew Steen on behalf of School of Architecture