Nice and soulful architecture

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Vieux Nice. (photo by Chris Carmichael for the New York Times)

It is hard to think with violence raining down, near and far. I am far from it in Providence, at least for now. My heart goes out to Nice. In a strange way its beauty struck me as I read this passage, having picked up The Commodore, the 17th of Patrick O’Brian’s 20-volume sea novel set in the Napoleonic era. Here, Dr. Maturin is conversing with Captain Aubrey over a shipboard dinner of aiguillettes – I ate duck this evening at Chez Pascal – and Stephen asks:

“Will I tell you another of Plato’s observations”

“Pray do,” said Jack, his smile briefly returning.

“It should please you, since you have a very pretty hand. Hinksey quoted it when I dined with him in London and we were discussing the bill of fare: ‘Calligraphy,’ said Plato, ‘is the physical manifestation of an architecture of the soul.’ That being so, mine must be a turf-and-wattle kind of soul, since my handwriting would be disowned by a backward cat; whereas yours, particularly on your charts, has a most elegant flow and clarity, the outward form of a soul that might have conceived the Parthenon.”

Jack made a civil bow, and pudding came in: spotted dog. He silently offered a slice to Stephen, who shook his head and ate mechanically for a while, before pushing his plate away.

Can’t see how Plato, duck, calligraphy and Nice might be related. But I have written my post for today and may go back to reading my book. More than four score in Nice cannot say that, or anything else, this evening.

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Nice from above. (

About David Brussat

This blog was begun in 2009 as a feature of the Providence Journal, where I was on the editorial board and wrote a weekly column of architecture criticism for three decades. Architecture Here and There fights the style wars for classical architecture and against modern architecture, no holds barred. History Press asked me to write and in August 2017 published my first book, "Lost Providence." I am now writing my second book. My freelance writing on architecture and other topics addresses issues of design and culture locally and globally. I am a member of the board of the New England chapter of the Institute of Classical Architecture & Art, which bestowed an Arthur Ross Award on me in 2002. I work from Providence, R.I., where I live with my wife Victoria, my son Billy and our cat Gato. If you would like to employ my writing and editing to improve your work, please email me at my consultancy,, or call 401.351.0457. Testimonial: "Your work is so wonderful - you now enter my mind and write what I would have written." - Nikos Salingaros, mathematician at the University of Texas, architectural theorist and author of many books.
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2 Responses to Nice and soulful architecture

  1. kmmlause says:

    #so nice …like a maze

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Sophia Cho says:

    Love the pictures!

    Liked by 1 person

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