Securing the Past: Conservation in Art, Architecture and Literature

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We all have a stake in the past and in its tangible preservation, and we trust professionals to preserve our cultural heritage for the future. However, the concept and practice of restoration in all its forms are entangled in many contemporary theoretical debates and problems. This book is the first concerted effort to examine together the linked philosophies of the different arts of preserving and uncovering the past: the restoration of buildings, conservation of works of art, and editing of literary works to retrieve their original or intended texts. By investigating a series of recent crises in each of these areas, Securing the Past shows how their underlying justifications relate closely to one another. Paul Eggert demonstrates that they have been philosophically undermined by postmodern theories, and finally points the way to a new future for the past.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Paul Eggert’s brave book considers together architectural restoration (houses, churches), art conservation (Rembrandt, the Sistine Chapel, and Leonardo da Vinci), and textual scholarship (German scholarship — including Gabler’s Ulysses, Shakespeare and Middleton, Dreiser and Lawrence)...This book is important more for the way it poses problems than for its ability to provide totally satisfactory answers, but only from an approach of this kind are new methodologies likely to arise."
-Philip Gossett, Common Knowledge, Winter 2010

"Paul Eggert, currently Australian Research Council Professorial Fellow in the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences of the Australian Defence Force Academy (ADFA) of The University of New South Wales has for many years effected a happy marriage between his practice as a critical editor (being responsible for, among others, two major critical editions of D.H. Lawrence published by Cambridge University Press in 1992 and 1994, The Boy From the Bush and Twilight in Italy) and his experience as a scholar of English literature and of textual studies (directing the Australian Scholarly Editions Centre from 1993, and founding and developing the Academy Editions of Australian Literature series which from 1996 to 2007 has issued some ten critical editions). It’s precisely such an interplay between theory and practice which now leads Eggert to examine, from an unusually wide perspective and with solid historical-philosophical foundations, the interrelation between the three disciplines of Art, Architecture and Literature and the welter of questions posed for those engaged in restoration and the answers which inevitably reflect a more or less conservative attitude with regard to works of art but even more generally with an idea of a past still alive and in close relation with the present. The examples that Eggert uses to focus attention on common themes are innumerable and contribute to the pleasure of reading a volume that, with a different approach, might have been confined strictly to workers in the field. But that this is far from Eggert’s aim is amply demonstrated by his solid and well-structured argumentative prose, always limpid and rational even when dealing with the most difficult issues."

-Translation of a section of a review essay in Italian by Paolo Italia in Ecdotica 6 (2009), 459–466.

"This book is well written, informative and challenging; above all, it provokes questions. Securing the Past will undoubtedly make an important contribution to intellectual debates about the decisions we make as we seek to preserve the past for the future...It is a volume to be highly recommended. I look forward to seeing Eggert’s work being picked up and debated in those professional forums where it can make most impact."
-Robyn Sloggett, Cultural Studies

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521725910
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 2/28/2009
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 302
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Paul Eggert is Professor of English at the University of New South Wales at ADFA.

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Table of Contents

List of illustrations

1 Introduction 1

2 The witness of historic buildings and the restoration of the churches 19

3 The new Ruskinians and the new aesthetes 41

4 Forgery and authenticity: historical documents, literary works and paintings 61

5 Conservators and agency: their role in the work 86

6 Subtilising authorship: Rembrandt, scientific evidence and modern connoisseurship 109

7 Materialist, performance or literary Shakespeare? 131

8 Modes of editing literary works: conflicts in theory and practice 154

9 Readers and editors: new directions in scholarly editing 185

10 The editorial gaze and the nature of the work 214

Notes 241

Bibliography 265

Index 285

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  • Posted July 8, 2014

    Lovely...! beautiful.....!.... Just enjoy it.....!

    Lovely...! beautiful.....!.... Just enjoy it.....!

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