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Tiny Treasures

June 2024
1min read

Gothic Revival

by Richard Striner, Abbeville Press, 96 pages .

by James Massey and Shirley Maxwell, Abbeville Press, 96 pages .

Abbeville Press has come up with a pair of diminutive books (6¼ by 4¾ inches) that successfully encapsulate the architecture, music, film, and literature of the Art Deco and Gothic Revival movements both here and abroad. For any traveler wanting a concise and entertaining reference, these books chart each era’s milestones with easy-to-follow time lines. Sprightly texts allied with beautifully selected and reproduced photographs create a montage that will equip the reader to recognize the best of these genres.

As the author of the Deco volume, Richard Striner, writes in his introduction, “Walk up New York’s Lexington Avenue and gaze at the silvery spire of the Chrysler Building; one can feel the rhythms of the Jazz Age. One can feel the messages of power, technology, exotica, and elegance shimmering down from the ziggurat atop the skyline.” The mid-nineteenth-century Gothic Revival seems demure by comparison—and far less familiar to the modern eye. Nevertheless, the pointed roofs and lacy spires that offered the promise of medieval order to the first children of the Industrial Revolution still abound—sprouting not only on country cottages and college campuses but from the lofty heights of great early skyscrapers like New York’s Woolworth Building.

Remarkably, neither of these tiny volumes seems cramped; there is room enough in each for a solid listing of organizations devoted to the style, sites to visit, and recommended reading. Other volumes are in the works—on the Arts and Crafts movement, the Prairie style, Art Nouveau, and more.

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