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Sidewalk Critic

Lewis Mumford's Writings on New York

Robert Wojtowicz

     6 × 9 in (15.2 × 22.9 cm)
Paperback
280 pages
23 b/w illustrations
Publication date: 8/1/2000
Rights: World
ISBN: 9781568982526


Best known for his "Sky Line" column in the New Yorker, where he served as architecture critic for over 30 years, Lewis Mumford (1895-1990) is still revered as one of America's leading cultural critics and an international authority on architecture and urbanism. His provocative and polemical pieces were as well known for the emotion of his writing as for the wit and clarity of his style. A man of letters and part of Manhattan's intellectual elite, Mumford wrote more than 20 books over 6 decades, bridging the seemingly disparate disciplines of architecture, technology, literary criticism, biography, sociology, and philosophy, which he synthesized into a highly original body of work. Sidewalk Critic collects over 50 of Mumford's writings that were originally published in the New Yorker between 1931 and 1940. These seminal essays focus almost exclusively on the New York metropolitan area, providing an unusual glimpse into one of the formative decades in the city's history. They cover all aspects of New York's architecture, including museums, theaters, bridges, tenements, parks, and recreational areas, and they range from a short musing on a midtown luncheonette to an extended series on Rockefeller Center. Robert Wojtowicz is the literary executor of the Lewis Mumford estate and an associate professor of art history at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia. ***Praise for Sidewalk Critic (also available in hardcover): "Here, at last, is a selection of Mumford's Sky Line pieces from 1931 through 1940, the body of work that made him the prince of America's architecture critics." --New Yorker "Robert Wojtowicz has done the public a service in republishing these essays and columns [of] one of America's greatest and least appreciated twentieth-century thinkers." --Harper's Magazine "Mumford's wonderfully stylish and incisive writing remains the unsurpassed model for an engaged architectural criticism. Lewis Mumford--whose eye was as good as his conscience--is our greatest critic. These pieces are among his best." --Michael Sorkin, architect and critic (and author of "Local Code") "For those of us who missed Lewis Mumford's 1930s articles in the New Yorker the first time around, this book provides a wonderful opportunity to 'catch up' and to consider again how this remarkable scholar could be at once so perceptive and so maddening." --Kenneth T. Jackson, editor of The Encyclopedia of New York


Robert Wojtowicz is the literary executor of the Lewis Mumford estate and an associate professor of art history at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia.


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