atypical atemporal otherness continuum

for a [false]start

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The remarkable capacity of language for being rich even in its poverty was well known to eighteenth-century grammarians. In their purely empirical conceptions of the sign, they were struck by the way in which a word may divorce itself from the visible form with which it is associated by its signification, and then attach itself to a different one, designating it with an ambiguity which is both a limitation and a resource. In behaving this way, language is discovering the origins of its own inner movement. Its relationship to what it says may change without its form also changing, as if it were rotating upon itself, tracing round a single focus a whole circle of possibilities (the 'sense' of the word as they called it in those days) and allowing for accidents, encounters and effects and all the more or less concerted efforts of the game. According to Dumarsais, one of the subtlest of those grammarians, it was absolutely necessary to make the same words serve for different purposes. It was noted that this admirable expedient could add to the vigour and grace of discourse, and it naturally developed into a game or entertainment. So by chance and by choice, words are often diverted from their original meaning to assume another meaning which is more or less remote from it, while still bearing some relationship to it. This new meaning of words is known as its tropological sense, and the conversion or semantic shift producing it is called a trope. All the figures of rhetoric are created through this kind of displacement of meaning (what Dumarsais called 'turns' and 'deviations'): catachresis, metonymy, metalepsis, synecdoche, antonomasia, litotes, metaphor, hypallage, and many other hieroglyphs traced by the rotation of words within the linguistic mass.
Michel Foucault, Death and the Labyrinth.

It is well known that for his ideas on centralized planning Alberti, like other architects after him, was inspired by classical structures, though hardly by classical temples.4 Yet, it is true that Renaissance architects believed many of the vast number of circular and polygonal ancient ruins to have been temples in antiquity5 and, in addition, they regarded such Early Christian buildings as Sto. Stafano Rotundo, Sta. Costanza, the octagonal Baptistry near the lateran and even the twelfth-century octagon of the Florentine Baptistry as Roman temples turned into Christian churches.
Rudolf Wittkower, Architectural Principles in the Age of Humanism, p. 5.

4. With the exception of the Pantheon, which was and remained of course the most influential classical building, and the two small peripteral temples at Rome and Tivoli, no round or polygonal classical temple survives.
5. Above all, the nymphaeum of the Orti Liciniani, then and still known as the temple of Minerva Medica. Alberti's inclusion of the deagon among his shapes for churches is, no doubt, due to this prototype.



Quondam © 2017.09.27