The World of Chartres

Jean Favier, Author, Jean Bernard, Photographer ABRAMS $65 (192p) ISBN 978-0-8109-1796-5
Between the covers of this magnificent volume lies an ambitious but ambiguous project, an uneasy marriage of historical anecdote, scholarly research and awe-inspiring photography. The beauty of the 700-year-old Cathedral of Notre Dame in Chartres is reproduced in sweeping detail by architectural photographer Bernard: every arch and vault has been captured with reverence. But the photographs clarify a story that the text muddles. French historian Favier clearly intended to recreate the medieval world of faith and feudalism that inspired Chartres by evoking the atmosphere of the times and avoiding dry chronology. The result is that the history of this northern French town, and the church that governed and inspired generations of inhabitants and pilgrims, is lost within nebulous chapters (``A Town and Its People,'' ``The Image,'' ``The World''). An appended chronology and notes by University of Kentucky professor John James reveal significant facts about the cathedral, and include a color diagram of its stained-glass windows that will engage scholar and novice alike. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 03/01/1990
Release date: 03/01/1990
Genre: Nonfiction
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