Sunday, October 26, 2008

Grammar of Earth

TLS October 24

from William J. R. Curtis's review of The Essential Frank Lloyd Wright: Critical writings on architecture, edited by Bruce Brooks Pfeiffer:

In another suggestive passage, from "In the Cause of Architecture IV: The meaning of materials--stone" (1928), Wright underlines his obsession with strata of rock as an inspiration for horizontal stratification in buildings, and reiterates the larger theme of "Nature" as a model for architecture.

Read the grammar of the Earth in a particle of stone! . . . For in the stony bonework of the Earth, the principles that shaped stone as it lies, or as it rises and remains to be sculptured by winds and tide--there sleep forms and styles enough for all the ages, for all of Man. 

We might bear this in mind when looking at Wright's later masterpiece, Fallingwater (1936), with its cantilevered concrete ledges, rusticated stone walls and natural boulders. Not that one should expect simple linkages in either direction between written images and built forms. Rather, themes emerged or re-emerged in different guises as unfolding features of a landscape of the imagination.

In the Wright quotation, the first sentence echoes Blake's "Auguries of Innocence": "To see the world in a grain of sand." The modernization of Romanticism? The appeal to nature, the vast eternal forms etc. Horizontal stratification is another way of viewing the verse line, and stanza. 

1 comment:

Eshuneutics said...

Interesting insights. And of course Pound new this...hence the layering of his free-verse and Kenner's fascination with "laminate" elements in Pound's poetry.