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Paperback | $24.95 Trade | £30.95 | ISBN: 9780262622103 | 288 pp. | 7.5 x 7.5 in | 85 b&w illus.| November 2007
 

Journey to the East

Overview

This is the legendary travel diary that the twenty-four-year-old Charles-Édouard Jeanneret (Le Corbusier) kept during his formative journey through Southern, Central, and Eastern Europe in 1911. In a flood of highly personal impressions and visual notations, it records his first contact with the vernacular architecture that would preoccupy him for the rest of his life and his first sight of the monuments he most admired: the mosque complexes, the Acropolis, and the Parthenon. Le Corbusier himself suppressed publication of this book during his lifetime; after his death, the text was released as "an unprefaced last confession."

Journey to the East can be read as a bildungsroman by a young author who would go on to become one of the greatest architects of the twentieth century. It is very much a story of awakening and a voyage of discoveries, recording a seven-month journey that took Le Corbusier from Berlin through Vienna, Budapest, Bucharest, Istanbul, Athos, Athens, Naples, and Rome, among other places. Le Corbusier considered this journey the most significant of his life; the compulsion he felt to record images and impressions established a practice he would continue for the rest of his career. For the next five decades, he would fill notebooks with ideas and sketches; he never stopped deriving inspiration from the memories of his first contact with the East, making this volume as much a historical document as a personal confession and diary. Ivan Zaknic's highly regarded translation was first published by The MIT Press in 1987 but has been unavailable for many years.

Reviews

"'Very often, I left the Acropolis burdened by a heavy premonition, not daring to imagine that one day I would have to create.' Such words are moving from any aspiring architect; from Le Corbusier they are an inspiration."—Progressive Architecture

"In this centenary year [1987] of his birth, many books are being published about Le Corbusier but none offers more insight into his character than this book from his own hand."—Interior Design

"Le Corbusier was one of the greatest architects of the 20th century, if not the greatest in terms of influence and fecundity. This is the first book he ever wrote, never before published in English and only partially published in French in 1966, long after it was written in 1911. The translation, by an authority on the architect, is marvelously direct and straightforward, conveying the strength and poeticism of the original. The book records the young architect's vivid impressions on his first 'Grand Tour' not of London, Paris, and Vienna, as one might expect, but of Dresden, Prague, Budapest, Bucharest, Brindisi, Pompeii, and, finally, Athens, where before the aura of the Parthenon he became enthralled as an architect. A thrilling visual and verbal document of early modern architecture." —Library Journal

"Twenty-four-year-old Le Corbusier (born Charles-

Awards

Winning entry, General Trade Cover/Jacket Category, in the 2008 New England Book Show sponsored by Bookbuilders of Boston.