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216 × 138 mm
296 pages
59 illustrations
17 May 2021
  • £25.00

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Reyner Banham Revisited Richard J. Williams

Reyner Banham (1922–88) was a prolific, iconoclastic critic of modern architecture, cities and mass culture in Britain and the US, and his provocative writings are inescapable in these areas. His 1971 book on Los Angeles was ground-breaking in what it told Californians about their own metropolis, and architects about what cities might be if freed from tradition. Banham’s obsession with technology, and his talent for thinking the unthinkable, mean his work still means a lot now, more than thirty years after his death. This book explores the full breadth of his career and his legacy, dealing not only with the major books, but a wide range of his journalism and media outputs, as well as the singular character of Banham himself.

‘Richard J. Williams allows us to excavate Banham's magnificent ambivalence about modernism. To Banham, modernism was not orderly at all, especially by the sixties. But he embraced its perversities with surgical irony. Williams traces Banham’s prescient journey step by step. An important addition to Banham studies.’ — Norman Klein, author of The History of Forgetting: Los Angeles and the Erasure of Memory, and Bleeding Through: Layers of Los Angeles

‘In today’s world of technology and consumerism, Reyner Banham’s prolific writings are as fresh and relevant as ever. Richard Williams insightfully reveals shows how this California cowboy from East Anglia reimagined architectural history, way ahead of his time.’ — Annmarie Adams, Stevenson Professor, McGill University, and author of Architecture in the Family Way, Designing Women, and Medicine by Design.

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Richard J. Williams is Professor of Contemporary Visual Cultures at the University of Edinburgh. His most recent books are Why Cities Look the Way They Do (2019), The Architecture of Art History (with Mark Crinson, 2018), and Sex and Buildings (2013).