Friday 26 January 2024

The Destruction of Old Buildings

Bernard Berenson, The Passionate Sightseer, from the diaries 1947-1956, (London: Thames & Hudson, 1960), p. 27:

I understand why I dislike innovation that comports removal or out-and-out destruction of buildings that I have got used to, of streets to which I had not only visually but muscularly got habituated. But why should I be distressed that the future will not miss them? Perhaps it is that we attach our own survival (in a measure at least) to things looking the way we have known them and that we die again with their disappearance and their replacement with other things that our ghosts could not recognize? Ghosts are seldom more than two, or at most three generations back, unless they become spooks as perhaps Nero did for centuries.