September 18, 2008
Bookshelf: Le Grande Corbusier
One hesitates to call Le Grand a coffee-table book because it could crush many coffee tables.
How much Corbu is too much? Probably this much: a 20-pound slab of more than 700 pages containing about 2,000 illustrations, plus a separate hardcover folio with English translations of hundreds of documents. One hesitates to call Le Grand a coffee-table book because it could crush many coffee tables. Still, that’s the right genre: the aim here is to assemble many, many images (including a photo of a nude Corbu, ack!) and omit, for the most part, things like explication and interpretation. (The fine introduction by Jean-Louis Cohen is the exception.) Yes, it’s overkill, but you kind of have to admire the sheer moxie of it all. Even next to Corbu’s monumental output as an architect, a planner, a painter, a sculptor, and a writer, this seems like an extravagant piece of work.
Read more short book reviews—covering Oscar Niemeyer, totalitarian branding, pomo myths, and more—in this month’s Bookshelf.