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To Capture What We Cannot Keep
This love story set against the construction of the Eiffel Tower is "vibrant...
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How does the novel explore the tensions between art/architecture and engineering and how we use both to conquer time and master space?

Created: 10/23/17

Replies: 4

Posted Oct. 23, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
sbmohler

Join Date: 10/23/17

Posts: 2

A Bridge and A Tower: How does the novel explore the tensions between art/architecture and engineering and how we use both to conquer time and master space?

Cait's husband died in a railroad accident when the iron bridge over the river Tay collapsed (5). Later, Jamie will describe the Eiffel tower as "the tallest tower in the world...three hundred meters high...made of iron, nothing else but iron, like a bridge" (32). How does the novel explore the tensions between art/architecture and engineering and how we use both to conquer time and master space? What role do these tensions and affinities play in the attraction Cait and Emile immediately feel towards one another when they meet on the balloon ride?


Posted Oct. 24, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
katherinep

Join Date: 07/16/14

Posts: 71

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RE: How does the novel explore the tensions between art/architecture and engineering and how we use both to conquer time and master space?

What is art and what is aesthetically appealing? Some in Paris did not find the Tower either one and some in Paris still do not. Certainly, the Tower, unlike a bridge or a building does not serve a practical purpose--but it cost a great deal monetarily and took up a good chunk of land, that many thought might be more usefully used.


Posted Oct. 26, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
victoriah

Join Date: 08/22/17

Posts: 16

RE: How does the novel explore the tensions between art/architecture and engineering and how we use both to conquer time and master space?

The Eiffel Tower certainly conquered time! Initially planned to be a temporary structure, it still stands, has become a powerful symbol, and is now on zillions of tea towels, posters and doll accessories! Inspired by the novel, I looked up background information - its lack of any real function, impact on the environment, and innovative design caused a lot of consternation as noted above. So engineering technique fulfilled architectural vision, and both were ultimately successful.


Posted Oct. 27, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
ruth ann

Join Date: 07/17/11

Posts: 4

RE: How does the novel explore the tensions between art/architecture and engineering and how we use both to conquer time and master space?

Throughout the book, the scenes switch between the tower workshop/ building site, (full of iron, rivets, precise angles and measurements necessary for it to be a permanent structure) and the artist studios and museums which exhibit the more fluid elements of light and color in their paintings. The novel was set in the era of the Impressionists, when art provided more of an illusion of a landscape rather than a well-defined set of structures. This contrasts with the specifically designed architecture of the tower, where even a mis-measured rivet could cause a major problem with the structure. The author does a masterful job of illustrating how art and engineering, though very different, can both be beautiful.
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Posted Oct. 30, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
sbmohler

Join Date: 10/23/17

Posts: 2

How does the novel explore the tensions between art/architecture and engineering and how we use both to conquer time and master space?

I think the ending provides an interesting twist and re-conceptualization of the tensions between bridges and towers in the novel: towers inspire but bridges connect. Do you think bridges equal the importance of towers for Emile and Cait by the end of the novel?


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