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Vitruvius Without Text

The Biography of a Book

New edition

A material history of the Vitruvian canon. 

Vitruvius’s De Architectura, written in the first century BCE, has been revered as the first treatise on architectural theory. Since its resurrection during the Renaissance, the enigmatic text has been adjusted, refined, and redefined in subsequent iterations. This book bypasses exegeses of the text to focus on the material history of the printed editions disseminated throughout Europe. It surveys over a hundred editions of Vitruvius from 1486 to the present, tracing the power of the printed page in establishing the Roman author as an authority. Focusing on the impact of the physical objects that embody the Vitruvian canon, Vitruvius Without Text highlights how book history and architectural history cross paths while illuminating how a symbiotic relationship emerges between the printed and the built.  


250 pages | 60 color plates | 4 1/2 x 6 3/4

gta edition

Architecture: European Architecture, History of Architecture

Library Science and Publishing: Publishing

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