Cathedral: A Gothic Pilgrimage

Cathedral: A Gothic Pilgrimage

Cathedral: A Gothic Pilgrimage

Cathedral: A Gothic Pilgrimage

Excerpt

By its title this book may seem to hold promise of being a book on architecture, and the earlier chapters will confirm the suggestion. I have had much to say about towers and spires, naves and portals, apses and roses, and singled out many churches and cathedrals to dwell upon their visible loveliness.

It is not, however, in the narrower sense an architectural study that I offer. The cathedral of the Middle Ages is indeed my theme, but the cathedral viewed in the larger context of poetry, music, legend, ritual, and symbolism. It has been my aim to portray the cathedral not only as the focus of mediaeval life, but as the mirror of that life, reflecting with amazing completeness the beliefs, hopes, fears, dreams, and mystical imaginings of mediaeval man.

By deliberate choice I have narrowed my subject to the cathedral of France. Recognizing the greatness of numerous churches of England, Spain, Italy, and Germany, I nevertheless feel that French Romanesque and Gothic represent the supreme architectural expression of the Middle Ages. I feel, too, that it was in France that mediaeval culture attained its fullest, most splendid flowering. And this conviction would have offered sufficient motive for dwelling upon the French cathedral rather than upon that of any other land.

One further deliberate limitation of my field I should mention. I wished to base my discussions entirely on works of architecture with which I was personally acquainted, and so I have referred throughout only to examples selected from among those mediaeval churches and ancient temples of which I possessed first-hand knowledge.

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