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City and Cosmos: The Medieval World in Urban Form [Hardcover]

Keith D. Lilley

Price: 25.00 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

10 July 2009
City and Cosmos is an exploration of what 'the city' represented in the medieval imagination. Keith D. Lilley shows that, to the medieval mind, the city was not merely a collection of houses, it was an idea rich in Christian symbolism and cosmological meaning. Drawing upon original accounts, illustrations and maps from across medieval Europe, and on science, religion, art, literature, drama and architecture of the Latin West, City and Cosmos offers an innovative interpretation of how medieval Christians saw their urban worlds. Linking together textual and visual evidence, it examines how the city was understood simultaneously as a body' writ large and as a scaled-down version of the cosmos, each sharing common spatial forms and functional ordering. Crossing traditional subject boundaries, "City and Cosmos" will appeal to a wide range of medievalists working in history, archaeology, philology, philosophy and theology. It will also help students of architecture, urban planning, art history and human geography to re-evaluate the material and imagined forms of European towns and cities. The idea it propounds that cities have deep meaning in the human imagination will also give the book wide appeal to those interested in urbanism and urban life.

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'Keith Lilley's excellent new book takes as its theme the idea of the city as it was played out, performed and remediated in medieval culture . . . The book, like the urban forms it describes, is impressively far-reaching, beautifully designed and richly illustrated.' --- Urban History

'The virtue of Lilley's book is that it makes us seriously
consider the relationship between the city where medieval
people lived and the city of God that they imagined . . . this book would make an excellent reference textbook for graduate students as well as scholars unfamiliar with the field.' --- Imago Mundi

'an important look at how the "urban city" of the Middle Ages is connected to God's hierarchical arrangement of the universe and the city's place within this ordering . . . Lilley has achieved his goal of providing a new perspective on understanding the city's cultural and material construct . . . This book would make an excellent foundation on which to form a course on the cities of the Middle Ages, due to the fact that it contains so many diverse aspects that can be studied in an interdisciplinary fashion and its relatively inexpensive price. The book is well illustrated throughout, giving Lilley the ability to enhance his readers' understanding by providing visual references and he does a good job of using illustrations as evidence for his points.' --- The Medieval Review

'Reference to detailed mapping of a number of medieval cities has enabled Keith Lilley to challenge traditional functional views of the city and to suggest that equally important to its inhabitants was its cosmological symbolism . . . Due to the interdisciplinary nature of this book, its arguments making use of scientific, artistic, religious and dramatic material, it is likely to be of use to students of all these areas, as well as to historians and cartographers, offering as it does a new perspective on medieval urbanism.' --- Society of Cartographers Bulletin

'City and Cosmos provides an exciting bird's-eye view of urban life in the Middle Ages, when the urban body was connected with the body of Christ, and city, cosmos and man were seen to be linked through sacred geometry and harmonic proportion. Keith Lilley's compelling account is a reminder that for many medieval Christians, the city was a reflection of God's beauty and presence in the world, a physical manifestation of the beauty of the body of the universe created by God, and a model of the world to come.' --- Alessandro Scafi, The Warburg Institute, University of London

About the Author

Keith D. Lilley is Senior Lecturer in Human Geography, Queen's University, Belfast. He is the author of many books and articles, including Urban Life in the Middle Ages, 1000-1450 (2002).

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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent introduction to the subject in question 17 May 2013
By Juan Burke - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
For anybody interested in the subject of urbanism, its history, as well as the subject of the Middle Ages, this is a book that will introduce the general reader as well as students and scholars into the subject of Medieval cities, but more importantly, the different cultural traditions that spawned and fed the growth and development of cities during this historical period, such as the archetype of the Heavenly Jerusalem, divine measurements, foundation rituals, etc.

The book is nicely illustrated and attractive in its edition. I'm quite happy with my purchase.
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