Category Archives: Books and Culture

Tour Providence by the book

Tomorrow a bunch of us know-it-alls have been invited to the Providence Preservation Society for a private session to suggest changes for a second edition of PPS’s 2003 Guide to Providence Architecture, written by Mack Woodward and photographed by Warren … Continue reading

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Fond adieu to Horne’s Paris

Here are several more passages lifted from the closing chapters of Alistair Horne’s engaging Seven Ages of Paris: Less felicitous were architectural scandals like the Tour Montparnasse (started in 1959, but not finished till 1973), greatest urban project since Haussmann, … Continue reading

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Passages and lessons, 2016

The passages referred to in the title of this post are from Home Free, a 1977 novel by Dan Wakefield, who earlier had written Going All the Way about the “free” lifestyle embraced by many in the late ’60s early … Continue reading

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The good cheer of beauty

Vanity Fair, by William Makepeace Thackeray, was published as a serial novel of 20 monthly parts in issues of Punch magazine from January 1847 to July 1848. So next month will be the 170th anniversary of its appearance in print. … Continue reading

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“Lost Prov” on the march

To update readers on my upcoming book Lost Providence, I finished writing it at the beginning of November, a month after I delivered its 99 illustrations to the publisher, which is The History Press, headquartered in Charleston, S.C. My editor … Continue reading

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Modern music in recovery

Here is an interview by Paul Senz of the Catholic World Report of Robert R. Reilly, who amid a career in the foreign-policy establishment discovered that modern classical music has undergone a renaissance. In fact, he finds that this revival … Continue reading

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Jane Jacobs at Ada Books

The photo shows the late Jane Jacobs sitting on a stool at the White Horse Tavern, in Greenwich Village. On Saturday evening, I saw Jane Jacobs sitting on a table at Ada Books. She was in the form of a … Continue reading

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In like a rat, out like Jonah

As I was searching for the original photo of old Penn Station hanging at the existing Penn Station, shown by Max Page at the Providence Preservation Society’s symposium on Friday, I stumbled across this hilarious cartoon on batmangotham city.net. It … Continue reading

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Venice author today, Brown

Salvatore Settis, the author of If Venice Dies, will speak at 7 p.m. today at Brown University’s Rhode Island Hall. That’s the stucco Greek Revival building facing the main campus green from just south of University Hall. I am about … Continue reading

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Henry James’s Roman ruins

As we saw in his novel The Princess Casamassima, Henry James indulges himself in his descriptions of cities. In Daisy Miller, he describes the ruin of the Palace of the Caesars, and the Colosseum, in Rome: A few days after … Continue reading

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