Synopses & Reviews
In this profoundly original book, Jennifer Bloomer addresses important philosophical questions concerning the relation between writing and architecture. Drawing together two cultural fantasies from different periods-one literary and one architectural-Bloomer uses the allegorical strategies she finds in James Joyce's Finnegans Wake to analyze three works of Giambattista Piranesi (Campo Marzio, Collegio, and the Carceri). Bloomer argues that architecture is a system of representation, with signifying possibilities that go beyond the merely symbolic.Bloomer reads the texts and ideas of Joyce and Piranesi against one another, further illuminating them with insights from myth, religion, linguistics, film theory, nursery rhymes, and personal anecdotes, as well as from poststructuralist, Marxist, and feminist criticism. Combining the strategies of Finnegans Wake, which Joyce himself called architectural, with conventional strategies of architectural thinking, Bloomer creates a new way of thinking architecturally that is not dominated by linear models and that appropriates ideas, parts, and theoretical frameworks from many other disciplines. Demonstrating her argument by dramatic example, Bloomer's treatise-like Joyce's word-play and Piranesi's play with visual representation-offers the pleasure of ongoing discovery.