Friday, July 27, 2018

Gothic Architecture: My Thesis and Where to Read It

Screen clipping of the abstract.

I've finished editing my Ph.D. thesis, and I've received confirmation that the external examiners approved of my research.

The thesis, "Gothic Architecture and the Liturgy in Construction", can be downloaded online, and the link is here.

Not only is the thesis downloadable online, but other academics have taken notice. Mark Sedgwick at "Traditionalist Blog" has an entry about my thesis.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018 
A new approach to Gothic architecture 
A new PhD thesis examines the old question of the traditional significance of the cathedral, using both Traditionalist and non-Traditionalist sources. This is Lindy Weston, “Gothic Architecture and the Liturgy in Construction,” PhD thesis, University of Kent, 2018, available here. 
Weston’s thesis is an “attempt to establish a common medieval metaphysic, and detail its implications for Gothic architecture.” It uses both Traditionalist (principally Guénon and Eliade) and other sources, notably Louis Dupré and Lindsay Jones. Dupré, author of Passage to Modernity: An Essay in the Hermeneutics of Nature and Culture (1993) and The Enlightenment and the Intellectual Foundations of Modern Culture (2004), is a Roman Catholic scholar who was T. Lawrason Riggs Professor in the Philosophy of Religion at Yale 1973-98 and who investigated the question of tradition and modernity without any obvious connection to Traditionalism. Jones, author of The Hermeneutics of Sacred Architecture: Experience, Interpretation, Comparison (2000) is a scholar of religion who taught at Ohio State University and was a student of Eliade’s at the University of Chicago. Beyond this connection, however, he too seems to have no obvious connection to Traditionalism. 
Weston’s thesis is interesting, then, not only as a new and fresh treatment of an old question, but also as a work that integrates Traditionalist and non-Traditionalist treatments of tradition, metaphysics, and modernity. In the end it seems to rely more on Traditionalism for inspiration and its general frame than for its detailed analysis, as although Guénon and Eliade are discussed positively in the review of literature, they are then little used thereafter. Titus Burckhardt, author of the Traditionalist classic Chartres and the Birth of the Cathedral (1962) and Ananda Coomaraswamy are present in the bibliography, but not in the main text (save for a brief discussion of a reference to Burckhardt by Jones).

What I find interesting is how Mark Sedgwick situates my research within "traditionalism". As a field of study I'm not familiar with the traditional, but his book "Against the Modern World..." sounds very interesting.  I will certainly add it to my list of books to read, and I just might write a review and share it here.