January 20, 2004


You won't often see the word "totalitarian" used to express a program that's desirable. "My economic policies will work because they're totalitarian," or "This education plan is based on sound totalitarian principles." But that wasn't always the case. David Watkin, in the fine work Morality & Architecture, notes that architectural critic Nikolaus Pevsner did exactly that in selling the internationalist style:

...at the end of the book [Pioneers of the Modern Movement, originally published in 1936] he reaffirmed that 'this new style of the twentieth century ... because it is a genuine style as opposed to a passing fashion is totalitarian'.

In post-War editions of the book, Pevsner changed "totalitarian" to "universal."

Actually, architecture -- or at least interior design -- has been much on my mind of late. Stately Ideofact manor is about to undergo some renovations. The downside is that I've had to pack up everything in our basement (including my books, and soon this computer) and stow it away; the good news is that, once we're finished, I'll have a much nicer workspace (along with other improvements). So I'll be blogging on the laptop for a while, which means that posts may be even less impressive than normal...

Posted by Ideofact at January 20, 2004 11:24 PM