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Lewis Mumford
About Mr. Mumford
• Lewis Mumford KBE (October 19, 1895 – January 26,
1990) was an American historian, sociologist, philosopher
of technology, and literary critic.
• Particularly noted for his study of cities and urban
architecture, he had a broad career as a writer. Mumford
made signal contributions to social philosophy, American
literary and cultural history and the history of technology.
• Mumford was influenced by the work of Scottish theorist
Sir Patrick Geddes and worked closely with his associate
the British sociologist Victor Branford.
• Mumford studied at the City College of New
York and at the New School for Social
Research. While a student he was influenced
by the writings of Patrick Geddes, who was
one of the pioneers of modern urban planning.
Mumford became an associate editor of the
Dial (1919) and wrote architectural criticism
and urban commentary for The New Yorker
magazine from 1931 to 1963.
ESTATE OF LEWIS MUMFORD
His writings
• Mumford’s early writings, both in periodicals and in
books, established him as an authority on American
architecture, art, and urban life as interpreted within
their larger social context.
• His book Sticks and Stones (1924) is an insightful
historical account of American architecture.
The Golden Day (1926; reprinted 1934, 1957) and
The Brown Decades: A Study of the Arts in America,
1865–1895 (1931) are more general studies of the
origins and development of American culture.
• The four books in Mumford’s “Renewal of Life”
series are: Technics and Civilization (1934), The
Culture of Cities (1938), The Condition of Man
(1944), and The Conduct of Life (1951). In these
works Mumford criticized the dehumanizing
tendencies of modern technological society and
urged that it be brought into harmony with
humanistic goals and aspirations.
• One of Mumford’s key works is The City in
History (1961), a sweeping historical study of the
city’s role in human civilization.
• Among Mumford’s late works is The Myth of the
Machine, 2 vol. (1967–70), a harshly critical
historical reassessment of technology’s role in human
development. He wrote several autobiographical
works, including My Work and Days: A Personal
Chronicle (1979).
Mumford taught and held numerous research positions.
He received the U.S. Medal of Freedom (1964) and
was decorated Knight of the Order of the British
Empire (1943).
Urban
Civilisation
Urban civilisation
• The City in History won the 1962 U.S. National
Book Award for Nonfiction.
• In this influential book Mumford explored the
development of urban civilizations.
• Harshly critical of urban sprawl, Mumford argues
that the structure of modern cities is partially
responsible for many social problems seen in
western society. While pessimistic in tone,
Mumford argues that urban planning should
emphasize an organic relationship between people
and their living spaces.
• Mumford uses the example of the medieval city as the
basis for the "ideal city," and claims that the modern
city is too close to the Roman city (the sprawling
megalopolis) which ended in collapse; if the modern
city carries on in the same vein, Mumford argues,
then it will meet the same fate as the Roman city.
Mumford wrote critically of urban culture believing the
city is "a product of earth ... a fact of nature ... man's
method of expression.”
• Further, Mumford recognized the crises facing urban
culture, distrustful of the growing finance industry,
political structures, fearful that a local community
culture was not being fostered by these institutions.
Mumford feared "metropolitan finance," urbanisation,
politics, and alienation.
Mumford wrote: "The physical design of cities and their
economic functions are secondary to their
relationship to the natural environment and to the
spiritual values of human community."
Lewis mumford
The City in History
Lewis Mumford
Lewis mumford
• Its Origins, Its Transformations, and Its Prospects is
a 1961 National Book Award winner by
American historian Lewis Mumford.
• It was first published by Harcourt, Brace &
World (New York).
• Mumford argues for a world not in which technology
rules, but rather in which it achieves a balance with
nature.
• His ideal vision is what can be described as an
"organic city," where culture is not usurped by
technological innovation but rather thrives with it.
• Mumford contrasts these cities with those constructed
around wars, tyrants, poverty, etc. However, the book
is not an attack on the city, but rather an evaluation of
its growth, how it came to be, and where it is heading,
as evidenced by the final chapter "Retrospect and
Prospect."
• Mumford notes apologetically in his preface that his
"method demands personal experience and
observation," and that therefore he has "confined
[him]self as far as possible to cities and regions [he
is] acquainted with at first hand."
• Mumford's florid writing style is also "organic" compared to
the cold, mechanical style of many history texts. Stylistically,
his works are full of metaphors and similes, as well as
quotations from famous novelists, giving his prose shades of
poetry. He refers to such texts as Great Expectations and Hard
Times, sometimes using citations to illustrate to the reader
what life was like during the industrial era and the city in
which Dickens lived.
• Articles have been written on Mumford's use of metaphors and
how his works can often be read as "fiction," in the sense that
they have narrative flow. That is evident in this book, in
which, instead of a human protagonist on which the story
centres, we have the city and its growth in a quasi-
bildungsroman fashion.

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Lewis mumford

  • 2. About Mr. Mumford • Lewis Mumford KBE (October 19, 1895 – January 26, 1990) was an American historian, sociologist, philosopher of technology, and literary critic. • Particularly noted for his study of cities and urban architecture, he had a broad career as a writer. Mumford made signal contributions to social philosophy, American literary and cultural history and the history of technology. • Mumford was influenced by the work of Scottish theorist Sir Patrick Geddes and worked closely with his associate the British sociologist Victor Branford.
  • 3. • Mumford studied at the City College of New York and at the New School for Social Research. While a student he was influenced by the writings of Patrick Geddes, who was one of the pioneers of modern urban planning. Mumford became an associate editor of the Dial (1919) and wrote architectural criticism and urban commentary for The New Yorker magazine from 1931 to 1963.
  • 4. ESTATE OF LEWIS MUMFORD
  • 5. His writings • Mumford’s early writings, both in periodicals and in books, established him as an authority on American architecture, art, and urban life as interpreted within their larger social context. • His book Sticks and Stones (1924) is an insightful historical account of American architecture. The Golden Day (1926; reprinted 1934, 1957) and The Brown Decades: A Study of the Arts in America, 1865–1895 (1931) are more general studies of the origins and development of American culture.
  • 6. • The four books in Mumford’s “Renewal of Life” series are: Technics and Civilization (1934), The Culture of Cities (1938), The Condition of Man (1944), and The Conduct of Life (1951). In these works Mumford criticized the dehumanizing tendencies of modern technological society and urged that it be brought into harmony with humanistic goals and aspirations. • One of Mumford’s key works is The City in History (1961), a sweeping historical study of the city’s role in human civilization.
  • 7. • Among Mumford’s late works is The Myth of the Machine, 2 vol. (1967–70), a harshly critical historical reassessment of technology’s role in human development. He wrote several autobiographical works, including My Work and Days: A Personal Chronicle (1979). Mumford taught and held numerous research positions. He received the U.S. Medal of Freedom (1964) and was decorated Knight of the Order of the British Empire (1943).
  • 9. Urban civilisation • The City in History won the 1962 U.S. National Book Award for Nonfiction. • In this influential book Mumford explored the development of urban civilizations. • Harshly critical of urban sprawl, Mumford argues that the structure of modern cities is partially responsible for many social problems seen in western society. While pessimistic in tone, Mumford argues that urban planning should emphasize an organic relationship between people and their living spaces.
  • 10. • Mumford uses the example of the medieval city as the basis for the "ideal city," and claims that the modern city is too close to the Roman city (the sprawling megalopolis) which ended in collapse; if the modern city carries on in the same vein, Mumford argues, then it will meet the same fate as the Roman city. Mumford wrote critically of urban culture believing the city is "a product of earth ... a fact of nature ... man's method of expression.”
  • 11. • Further, Mumford recognized the crises facing urban culture, distrustful of the growing finance industry, political structures, fearful that a local community culture was not being fostered by these institutions. Mumford feared "metropolitan finance," urbanisation, politics, and alienation. Mumford wrote: "The physical design of cities and their economic functions are secondary to their relationship to the natural environment and to the spiritual values of human community."
  • 13. The City in History Lewis Mumford
  • 15. • Its Origins, Its Transformations, and Its Prospects is a 1961 National Book Award winner by American historian Lewis Mumford. • It was first published by Harcourt, Brace & World (New York). • Mumford argues for a world not in which technology rules, but rather in which it achieves a balance with nature. • His ideal vision is what can be described as an "organic city," where culture is not usurped by technological innovation but rather thrives with it.
  • 16. • Mumford contrasts these cities with those constructed around wars, tyrants, poverty, etc. However, the book is not an attack on the city, but rather an evaluation of its growth, how it came to be, and where it is heading, as evidenced by the final chapter "Retrospect and Prospect." • Mumford notes apologetically in his preface that his "method demands personal experience and observation," and that therefore he has "confined [him]self as far as possible to cities and regions [he is] acquainted with at first hand."
  • 17. • Mumford's florid writing style is also "organic" compared to the cold, mechanical style of many history texts. Stylistically, his works are full of metaphors and similes, as well as quotations from famous novelists, giving his prose shades of poetry. He refers to such texts as Great Expectations and Hard Times, sometimes using citations to illustrate to the reader what life was like during the industrial era and the city in which Dickens lived. • Articles have been written on Mumford's use of metaphors and how his works can often be read as "fiction," in the sense that they have narrative flow. That is evident in this book, in which, instead of a human protagonist on which the story centres, we have the city and its growth in a quasi- bildungsroman fashion.