Saturday, August 21, 2010


In light of my recent infatuation with certain houses-- 95 Irving Street in Cambridge, and the "14 doors opening out" summer home they now call "Stonewall," in Chocorua, New Hampshire, specifically-- Alain de Botton's Architecture of Happiness offers some interesting insights.
John Ruskin proposed that we seek two things of our buildings. We want them to shelter us. And we want them to speak to us - to speak to us of whatever we find important and need to be reminded of.
What a load of expectation to place on any mere human construction. But those two buildings in New England reminded me how important it is to have a place to hang not just your hat, but your head too.

I toured Stonewall a week ago this afternoon, with a group of Jamesian pilgrims. The stone wall in this image is not the wall, where James and his metaphysical idealist bete noire Josiah Royce perched for their staged debate-it's out back, just to the right.

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