Plotting Gothic by Stephen MurrayPlotting Gothic by Stephen Murray

Plotting Gothic

byStephen Murray

Hardcover | March 6, 2015

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A historian of medieval art and architecture with a rich appreciation of literary studies, Stephen Murray brings all those fields to bear on a new approach to understanding the great Gothic churches of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries.

Plotting Gothic positions the rhetoric of the Gothic as a series of three interlocking plots: a spatial plot tied to the material construction of the churches, a social plot stemming from the collaborative efforts that made Gothic output possible, and a rhetorical plot involving narratives that treat the churches as objects of desire. Drawing on the testimony of three witnesses involved in church building-Abbot Suger of Saint-Denis, Gervase of Canterbury, and the image maker Villard de Honnecourt-and a range of secondary sources, Murray traces common patterns in the way medieval buildings were represented in words and images. Our witnesses provide vital information about the way the great churches of Gothic were built and the complexity of their meanings. Taking a fresh approach to Gothic architecture, Plotting Gothic offers an invigorating new way to understand some of the most lasting achievements of the medieval era.
Stephen Murray is the Lisa and Bernard Selz Professor of Medieval Art History at Columbia University and the author of many books.
Title:Plotting GothicFormat:HardcoverDimensions:336 pages, 10 × 7 × 1.1 inPublished:March 6, 2015Publisher:University of Chicago PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:022619180X

ISBN - 13:9780226191805


Table of Contents

Preface and Acknowledgments

Part I: Three Eyewitnesses of Gothic

1 Villard de Honnecourt: Ymagier and Interlocutor
Possessing Villard
The Role of the Interlocutor in the Villard Enterprise
Animating the Artifact
Animating the Beholder
Controlling the Artifact
Conclusion: Deceit and Desire in the Villard Enterprise

2 Gervase of Canterbury: Cronicus and Logistics Man
Mnemonics: Remembering the Old
The Means of Production: Controlling the New
Old and New Reconciled
Apocryphal Storytelling: A Building That "Speaks"
Conclusion: Signs, Miracles, and Illusionism

3 Suger, Abbot of S-Denis, and the Rhetoric of Persuasion: Manipulating Reality and Producing Meaning
Rhetorical Structure of De consecratione: Manipulated Dialectic
Production of the Text: From Oral to Written
Making Connections
Production of the New Church, Production of Salvation
Apocryphal Stories
Conclusion: The Abbot Who Spoke the Building

Part II: Staking Out the Plot

4 Interlocutor and Monument

5 Material Contexts: The Means of Production
How on Earth Did They Do That?
Economic Means
Reading the Signs: Construction History

6 The Production of Meaning
Similitude to Nature; Local Roots
Similitude to Other Buildings
Modernism and Reason
An Image of Heaven

Part III: Animating the Plot

7 Picturing the Three Agents of Construction

8 The Cathedral as Object of Desire
Triangulating Desire
The Gap between Vision and Realization
Compression and Expansion: Plotting
My Desire

9 Conclusion: Gothic Plots-Synchronic, Diachronic, and Spatial


Editorial Reviews

"This book, more than any other I know, evokes the participatory excitement in experiencing a medieval masterpiece. Murray's premise is that (despite marks of the 'push and shove of real life' upon them) the great medieval cathedrals possess legible plots, motives, and designs on their experiencing subjects. Balancing stories told about them and stories they tell, he freshens the discussion of medieval architecture in an entirely welcome way. This is a risk-taking study, truly rather than just gesturally interdisciplinary, and the risks pay off."