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Home: A Short History of an Ideaby Witold Rybczynski
Synopses & Reviews
This immensely popular, witty, and highly provocative book is changing people's attitudes about convenience, decor, and technology in home design and furnishing. 10 black-and-white illustrations.
"In a loosely configured essay, Rybczynski discusses the idea of comfort and the Western cultural attitudes that have shaped it since the end of the middle ages. Rather than dealing with the technical aspects of architecture, he reviews such cultural variables as intimacy and privacy, domesticity, ease, and ideas about light, air, and efficiency as they have changed over time...."Library Journal
"Rybczynski has discovered many absorbing facts about our domestic evolution, and shows what a lot of human thought has gone into the modern chair, or attitudes about fresh air, or a room of our own...." William Gass, The New York Times Book Review
Rybczynski presents a brilliant assessment of the social, cultural, economic, and political factors that have shaped Western concepts of privacy, domesticity, and comfort.
Walk through five centuries of homes both great and small—from the smoke-filled manor halls of the Middle Ages to today's Ralph Lauren-designed environments—on a house tour like no other, one that delightfully explicates the very idea of "home."
You'll see how social and cultural changes influenced styles of decoration and furnishing, learn the connection between wall-hung religious tapestries and wall-to-wall carpeting, discover how some of our most welcome luxuries were born of architectural necessity, and much more. Most of all, Home opens a rare window into our private lives—and how we really want to live.
About the Author
Witold Rybczynski of Polish parentage, was born in Edinburgh in 1943, raised in Surrey, and attended Jesuit schools in England and Canada. He received Bachelor of Architecture (1960) and Master of Architecture (1972) degrees from McGill University in Montreal. He is the author of more than fifty articles and papers on the subject of housing, architecture, and technology, including the books Taming the Tiger, Paper Heroes, The Most Beautiful House in the World, Waiting for the Weekend, and Looking Around: A Journey Through Architecture (all available in Penguin), and most recently, City Life. He lives with his wife, Shirley Hallam, in Philadelphia and is the Martin and Margy Myerson Professor of Urbanism at the University of Pennsylvania.
Table of Contents
Chapter One: Nostalgia
*Two: Intimacy and Privacy
*Four: Commodity and Delight
*Six: Light and Air
*Eight: Style and Substance
*Ten: Comfort and Well-Being
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