[on the Abbot Suger]
He said, "The dull mind rises to truth through that which is material". Well, this was really a revolutionary concept in the Middle Ages. It was the intellectual background of all the sublime works of art of the next century and in fact has remained the basis of our belief in the value of art until today.
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Watching the series in China, it makes me all the more proud of my heritage. The last comment is a good one; let Clark introduce himself to you, just as one reads a Herodotus or Suetonius- to be in the presence of a knowledgeable and engaging friend. having visited many of the places shown, it's also a marked benefit that the series was filmed in 1969, when travel was truly the domain of those seeking enlightenment before our days of package tours. And how clear and lucid are his discussions of culture and history! Often I found myself anticipating his next sentence from my own classes I teach, but am left feeling pedantic and plebeian by comparison. Although the BBC continues to be a source of wonderment through its historical live-action recreation series such as Auschwitz, Pompeii and the Attenboroughs, this is truly of its time when there was no need for gimmicks or embellishment. www.tracesofevil.blogspot.com
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