Tuesday, September 11

Marriage of Town and Country

Thomas Sharp, a prominent British town planner in the early 20th Century, delighted in smaller compact towns that were scattered around the countryside. Throughout the years, he watched these country towns begin to disintegrate, as many of the residents wanted to merge pastoral ideals into the center of urban life.

I love this tirade of his against "hermaphroditic beastliness" (insert an enraged British accent as you read this):

"The town, long since degraded, is now being annihilated by a flabby, shoddy, romantic nature-worship. That romantic nature-worship is destroying also the object of it's adoration, the countryside. Both are being destroyed. The one age-long certainty, the antithesis of town and country, is already breaking down. Two diametrically opposed, dramatically contrasting, inevitable types of beauty are being displaced by one drab, revolting neutrality. Rural influences neutralize the town. Urban influences neutralize the country. In a few years all will be neutrality. The strong, masculine vitality of the town; the softer beauty, the richness, the fruitfulness of that mother of men, the countryside, will be debased into one, sterile hermaphroditic beastliness."

Sharp goes on to consider the relationship between town and country as a marriage, unified and mutually reinforcing yet kept distinct and diverse at the same time. A unity in diversity.

If you happened to be inclined toward archaic theological disputes like I am, you could also consider this admixture a reflection of the Monarchianism heresy. Just throwing it out there.

No comments: