God and Enchantment of Place: Reclaiming Human Experience

By David Brown | Go to book overview

6 The Contemporary Context

House and Church as Mediators

Had this book been written or published in 1900, it is quite likely that it might have had a certain conclusiveness about it that in retrospect would have been totally unjustified. Not least because I am an Anglican, I might well have concluded that Gothic was the only possible style for church architecture. Again, in respect of the home a multitude of practical signs might also have been noted that appeared to make its sacred character manifest, and which, if anything, had been gaining in popularity over the course of the Victorian era. It was not just that husband and wife each had a clear role, and a high value was assigned to family life in general, but also that these were very frequently given religious and indeed quasi-sacramental underpinning, whether it was through the prominence afforded to the family Bible, suitable pictures on the walls, or whatever. 1 An obvious example of the latter would be the huge popularity of prints of Holman Hunt's The Light of the World, which sold in quantities no less remarkable than the numbers who turned up in person to view the original. 2 Yet, had I written in this way, such confidence would of course have been gradually belied by the subsequent course of events. We are now in a quite different world, and not just sociologically. Due note will also have to be taken of the phenomenal rise and subsequent undermining of modernist architecture, the so-called International style.

-308-

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God and Enchantment of Place: Reclaiming Human Experience
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • God and Enchantment of Place iii
  • Preface vi
  • Contents ix
  • List of Plates x
  • Introduction 1
  • 1: Sacrament and Enchantment 5
  • 2: The Place of Encounter 37
  • 3: The Natural World 84
  • 4: Placement and Pilgrimage 153
  • 5: Competing Styles 245
  • 6: The Contemporary Context 308
  • 7: Widening the Perspective 350
  • Plates 405
  • Interim Conclusion 407
  • Appendix 414
  • Index 419
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