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Tag Archives: Christopher Woodward
What Shelley’s experience shows is that the vegetation which grows on ruins appeals to the depths of our consciousness, for it represents the hand of time, and the contest between the individual and the universe.
Pausing before the crumbling façade [Henry] James seems to have glimpsed an understanding of the ‘perversity’ by which we find a pleasure in contemplating decay.
If I am lonely in a foreign country I search for ruins.
In ruins movement is halted and time suspended.
Furthermore, the magnitude of its ruins overturned visitors’ assumptions about the inevitability of human progress over time.
When we contemplate ruins, we contemplate our own future. To statesmen, ruins predict the fall of Empires, and to philosophers the futility of man’s aspirations. To a poet, the decay of a monument represents the dissolution of the individual ego in the flow of Time; to a painter or architect, the fragments of a stupendous antiquity call into question the purpose of their art. Why struggle with a brush or chisel to create the beauty of wholeness when far greater works have been destroyed by Time?