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Book Title: The Necessity for Ruins and Other Topics|
The author of the book: J.B. Jackson
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Loaded: 2866 times
Reader ratings: 6.7
Edition: University of Massachusetts Press
Date of issue: March 4th 1980
ISBN 13: 9780870232923
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 589 KB
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Jackson's book is a collection of essays about geography, especially the man-made geography of gardens and streets. His discussion of the sacred grove, camp meeting sites in the woods, relates the rise in importance of sacred time over sacred space in Protestant revivalism. Now is the time of the salvation, it might happen anywhere. The end result is an individualizing and privatizing of faith (still a problem with evangelical Protestants today).
His discussion in the essay, "The Necessity for Ruins," is even more thought provoking (especially to one who recently enjoyed a visit to Old Sturbridge Village). He describes the 19th century historical change of monuments from means "to remind us of our obligations, religious or political, and to keep us on the beaten path, loyal to tradition" to celebrations of "a vernacular past, a golden age ... history as a chronicle of everyday existence." The first finds the present linked to the past by a contract and so sees the present as a continuation of the past and via the re-enactment of the past "the community is reminded of its original identity and its ancient pledges." The other, newer vision revels in "The Old Days" as a period with "an innocence and a simplicity that we have since lost" but at least can visit at our convenience and when we feel up to consuming it (at places like Colonial Williamsburg, Old Sturbridge Village, or the Gettysburg battlefield). "A kind of historical, theatrical make-believe is becoming increasingly popular... places where we can briefly relive the golden age and be purged of historical guilt. The past is brought back in all its richness. There is no lesson to learn, no covenant to honor; we are charmed into a state of innocence and become part of the environment. History ceases to exist." What is the purpose of history and how do we remember it? Does it teach us information or does it teach us something more substantial?
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Read information about the authorJohn Brinckerhoff "Brinck" Jackson, J. B. Jackson, (September 25, 1909, Dinard, France - August 28, 1996, La Cienega, NM) was a writer, publisher, instructor, and sketch artist in landscape design. Herbert Muschamp, New York Times architecture critic, stated that J. B. Jackson was “America’s greatest living writer on the forces that have shaped the land this nation occupies.” He was influential in broadening the perspective on the “vernacular” landscape.
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