During his life, the German architect, scholar and political revolutionary, Gottfried Semper (1803-1879) experienced early fame, political exile from his homeland, international prominence, and seeing European architecture transformed by his influential body of ideas. In this biography Harry Mallgrave presents an account of the life, buildings and writings of the man he describes as a colossus of the 19th century. Mallgrave weaves a saga of Semper's youth, his fascination with the July Revolution in France, and his voyage to a Greece wracked by civil war. He speaks of Semper's design for the Dresden Hoftheater in the mid-1830s, his influence on Richard Wagner, and his plummeting fortunes after the political unrest of 1848-1849. Mallgrave traces Semper's literary resurrection that culminated with the publication of his book on style; he follows his artistic resurrection with a practice in Zurich and Vienna. By the time of his design for the second Dresden Hoftheater in the 1870s, Semper was without architectural peer in the German-speaking countries and his ideas had pushed European architecture to the brink of modernism.