Julie Iovine

Critic; Writer; Editor / Architecture / United States / The Wall Street Journal

An Architecture Critic Commits

I look to books for everything imaginable, and unimaginable. They shape my outlook, but also throw open spaces I could never have found on my own. The chance to consider an essential list is wonderfully engrossing, but also a bit of a nasty parlor trick. Must I commit? . . . View the complete text
4 books
Robert Alter

I think of this book together with Charles Dickens’s Dombey and Son as it was through Imagined Cities that I came to consider Dickens anew. For once, in describing the wrenching toll of industrialization—specifically constructing the new railroad slashing through neighborhoods—Dickens’s melodramatic writing seems just the thing. Alter goes on to brilliantly explicate carriage traffic in Flaubert as well.

Philippe Ariès Editor
Georges Duby Editor

This five-volume set out of Harvard traces the cultural threads spun in pagan and ancient times leading to our contemporary obsession with private space. Plus, it’s a great resource for illustrations.

Paul Fussell

I’m fairly obsessed with tracking the modern mindset to its earliest sources and most warping traumas. World War I was the ultimate defining wrench in our mental works. Fussell considers not the battles fought but the culture that resonated around battle and transformed subsequent thinking about the modern experience.

Justin Pollard
Howard Reid

There was a moment in history when any thinking person in the known world headed for Alexandria and there invented geography, mathematics, astronomy, religious tolerance and, convincingly, the modern mind. The book is especially fascinating on detailing revelations achieved simply through time and observation.

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