Using monuments and ruins by way of illustration, this fascinating book examines the symbolic, ideological, geographical and aesthetic importance of Greek classical iconography for the Western world. It examines how classical Greek monuments are simultaneously perceived as sublime national symbols and as a mythological and archetypal reference against which Western modernism is measured. The book investigates the dialogue this double identity leads to, as well as frequent clashes between ancient (but also later) monuments and their modern urban or regional environment. Living Ruins, Value Conflicts examines the complex historical process of monument restoration and enhancement, and analyses the nexus of changing perceptions, aesthetic visions and formal principles over the past two centuries. The book shows the ways in which archaeology and monumentality affect modern life, the modern aesthetic, our notions of nationhood, of place, of self - and the limits to and possibilities for national development imposed by the need to ensure ruins are kept 'alive'.
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