American Style.

By Titus de Bobula, Architect.

Paper Read at the Convention of the Architectural League of America, at Pittsburgh, Pa., April 17, 1905.

This paper by Titus de Bobula is mostly wild speculations on prehistory, but it is interesting for the glimpse it gives us of his loony mind at work, for the genuinely good advice it has for architects at the end, and perhaps most of all for its prediction that the architecture of the future would be an international style.

Long, long ago in the past, perhaps millions of aeons ago, at a time beyond human calculation, there was a realm of light wherein resided the spirit of wisdom. His body was like a sun and the living rays emanating from him filled the universe with glory. Matter of a fiery and ethereal kind, such as is unknown to man, filled all space and the light coming from that spirit penetrated the realm of matter and endowed it with life and sensation. Gradually this matter began to cool, centres of attraction were formed, and around these centres still more matter condensed, and they grew into revolving globes, traveling with lightning velocity through space, being guided by the spirit of wisdom. Upon these globes, stones, vegetables, animals and human beings grew. This universal mystery surrounds mankind. The scientists in vain strive to solve it. Only religion or art, with their ideals, will elevate men from the imperfect circumstances, from his worldly battles and pains. They differ insomuch that while religion, through her mysterious faith of the wonders, sinks to the realms of incomprehensible and therefore cannot express her ideals in material form, true art from the other hand will materialize the formless inexplicable; and even the great wonders will find their natural and necessary expression in works of art. Similar to these two desires is the purpose of science to find truth. But here the goal is unapproachable, and science will always remain incomplete, and as a form indefinite, not knowledge but only the striver being satisfied. On account of these imperfections, science and religion must recede even before the humblest creations of art, as long as they interpret a true artist’s ideal. Contemplating the vastness of the nightly sky among brilliant stars there are dim nebulae, either old systems whose life and light is being dispersed or a new ethereal formation around a circle, which in time will have her own suns, planets and moons. Nothing to indicate the exact line between destroyal and new birth, the last moments of the old system being the first of the new one. They are a fitting analogon for similar formations on the horizon of art history, referring to the transition of one world of art to the formless and simultaneously to the phase of an innovation.

These apparitions of the decline of art and the wonderful phoenix birth of a new period from the process of annihilation, is the more significient to us, as to all probabilities we are in just such a crisis where a new style will be born. This assertion does not lack of signs, the only question remaining is, whether they are a result of social decay, or whether they point already to a new healthy formative growth. In other words, whether the development of the human passions is departing from or approaching to nature. Humanity and its three governing ideas, Science, Religion and Art, can be best symbolized by a circle, whose beginning point was nature itself. The development of the human race along this circle departed from the natural beginning point where the simple and yet perfect Adam and Eve understood nature with their instinct thoroughly—until it arrived at the opposite point, where it was most civilized and farthest from nature. From here on it is a return journey towards the natural again, where art will help mankind, not to an instinctive, but a perfect understanding of all the universe. This development of the human race can be applied to art and her periods also, each of which is a perfect circle in itself, governed by the same laws which prevail in the universe. With the same right we can symbolize art by a globe, imagine countless circles, each of them perfect in themselves. Some of them are meridians, some of them diminishing in their size, the nearer they are to an imaginative pole. Each of these circles can represent a certain style or epoch in the history of art. Sometimes they travel parallel, again they intersect each other. Let us imagine that a certain style is nearing its perfection, its beginning and end point where it dissolves in the shapeless and forms the beginning point of an intersecting circle, along which, on similar lines, a new style will travel departing from and approaching again the natural. According to all signs, as It was pointed out above, we are midst such an innovating birth.

To an architect only the question will remain—is it right that all the mental energy, all the beauty of the past style shall be lost in her perfection, and in reference to progress of mankind, be annihilated forever, and therefore his energy to be used only for the support of a decaying world, and the strength of an Atlas was not sufficient for this—or whether his creative genius will find a more appropriate task in upbuilding from the chaos which nevertheless contains all the mental and artistic energy of the past styles, a re-born ideal of beauty and impulse after perfection. For this purpose the only right way is to seek in the individual cases the law and order which underlies the process of birth and origin of styles, and to establish from these the principal traits of an empirical doctrine of art. The empirical doctrine of art, in other words, the manual of style, is not purely aesthetic, or is not the abstract doctrines of the beautiful. The later ones deal with the forms only as such, and for them beauty is but an assembling of individual forms, for the purpose of a total sphere of activity satisfying our artistic sense. All aesthetical properties of the formed beauty are therefore collective, for instance, Harmony, Proportion, Eurythmy, Symmetry, etc., etc. The doctrine of style however, understands beauty as unity, as a product or result, and not as a total or a succession. In the history of architectural styles, we may call them thus, because all the other arts are depending on architecture, we can distinguish three schools according to the three forms in which sciences are allied with art. They are:

First, the materialistic school under the influence of mathematics and exact sciences.

Second, the historical school under the influence of art, history and antiquarial researches.

Third, the schematic school under the influence of the speculative philosophy.

The materialistic school instructs us how to use the different materials for constructive purposes. She is supported by our present days’ practical aims, by the colossal upbuilding of railroads, dams, bridges, etc. Her mistake is in underestimating the idea, making it depending on construction, forgetting that matter is only a tool employed by the idea to create a form.

The historical school, which branches off in countless directions, each fighting the other, strives to copy conscientiously old examples of past styles of foreign nations, instead of, as it would seem more natural, to solve the problem from the premises, as they are given by the present, to solve them with a freedom, not forgetting, however, the laws of aesthetic and the traditional forms, which through thousands and thousands of years remained as incontestable examples and types of certain local and instructive ideas.

The third school is that of the schematic and the Purists. If their philosophy would desire to define ideally the beautiful and limit her in her particular conceptions, next to dissect her to her properties, and if the philosophical mind can finally bring the beautiful to life and define a living doctrine of style, then the aesthetical theme of a purist’s faith would be fulfilled. True art in her existing highest form, hates exegesis, takes human life and passions as they are, and from them creates the ideal.

It is true that our intensively practical world might call us dreamers, and designate art not as a necessary sine que non but rather as a detriment to the solving of all the great problems of today, forgetting that all existing things have their origin in the idea: forgetting that art and art alone was the salt which saved the nations from a general downfall. Whenever she was in flower, that was the time when the national life became regenerated and only through supporting and placing art on a pedestal, which is her heirdom, did the nations succeed to rejuvenate and rise to an understanding of their nationalistic importance. Volumes and volumes were written of this theme, and still it is not satisfactorily explained. The time given to write my present paper was not sufficient to give full justice to the task. Instead of explaining all the motive causes, it will be necessary to rely on authority, and I will pass over the history of the styles only in brief, arriving to the chaos of today.

The comparative philology has proved to us that that language from which most of the ancient and living idioms of the old and new world logically have been derived, is the one which was the most flexible and rich and that the comparative poverty of language, which by many people was designed as the original form, is nothing else than a spontaneous mutilation. After an examination of the Egyptian language, of the hieroglyphics of Assyrian, Hebrew, Peruvian, Swahili, Zulu, Kaffer, Fiji, Arabie, Persian, Sanscrit, Hindustan, Malay, Chinese, New Zealand, Turkish, Greck, Latin, Irish, Welsh, Cornish, Roman, Anglo-Saxon, Icelandic, Esquimeaux, Swedish, Danish, German, Dutch, Polish, Romany, Italian, French, English, Spanish and some score of African dialects which embrace all told probably 9-10 of the human race—the whole forms a perfect net-work of connections with each other plainly showing that they have a common origin, their difference being no more than would naturally arise in time between people having surroundings entirely unlike, and developing different mental and physical characteristics. It is an analogon for the language of the art forms. There where we thought to surprise her in her childhood’s stammering, she is nothing but the downfall of a formerly existing world of art. For instance, the Patriarchism of the Euphrat Valley is only a broken part of despotism as it existed in a splendid civilization before the time of Abraham. Would it be that the Patriarchism were the original form of society, it ought to show itself everywhere, but this is not the case. There were and there are, for instance, tribes, especially pastoral ones, who despise and condemn the wild powerless old age, who would eat their fathers, as it is related about the wild Herules, and as it is still customary with several tribes of the South Sea. Those pastoral tribes, who today graze their cattle on the ruins of Mesopotamia, know just as little of those olden times where their fore-fathers were united for a mighty nation, as Abraham did. And their tents and corrals can be more appropriately taken for the examples of their present peacelessness and homelessness as for the original types of Oriental architecture. Everything points to the fact that there must have been a mighty and complete civilization before the time to which we arrive with our archeological researches. The civilization of the Nile Valley was transported there from some other region. It is notorious that however far back we go, we find no rude or uncivilized time out of which civilization is developed in Egypt. An Egyptologist remarks that as soon as men were planted on the banks of the Nile, they were already the cleverest men that ever lived, and endowed with more knowledge and more power than their successors could attain to. Says Le Plongeon, the explorer of Yucatan: “The ancient Maya hieratic alphabet discovered by me, is as near alike to the ancient hieratic alphabet of the Egyptians as two alphabets can possibly be, forcing upon us the conclusion that either the Mayas and the Egyptians learned the arts of writing from the same masters, or else that the Egyptians learned it from the Mayas. The legends accompanying the images of several of the Egyptian deities, when interpreted by the Maya language, point directly to them as the birthplace of Egyptian civilization. There is every reason to believe that the cosmological conceptions so widely spread originated with the Mayas, and were communicated by them to all the nations among which we find their name. The supposition is almost justified, says Caithness, (“Mystery of the Ages”) that in the Hebrews, and possibly also the Persians, we behold tribes of ancient Atlantis. The terror of the catastrophe that destroyed their continent may have so impressed itself upon their minds hereditarily that the Hebrews’ conceptions of God were more inclined to fear than love. It may also have been such an event as to appear like a divine judgment that caused the minds of the ancient Persians to make devils of the Hindu deities (deva, whence devil, signified a divinity) and contrariwise deities of the Hindu devils.”

The Book of Genesis opens with the creation of the world by Elohim-Alhein. In the sacred book of the Quiches, Alom is the engenderer, he who gives being, In the Rook of Revelations we read of him who is Alpha and Omega. These are coincidences of a sort which must not be neglected if any considerable portion of the history of the past is ever to be recovered. Coincidences of the same order as the long separated parts of a piece of mechanism, which, when firmly put together again, constitutes a compass to guide our footsteps aright through the bewilderment produced by seeing the Sun of Catholic Christianity turn back ten degrees, of thousands of years, upon the dial of history.

The land of Meru, the same as the Island of Mero (identified by Bryant with Atlantis) of the ancient Egyptians, from which Egypt was first colonized, the Meron of the Greeks, on which the Meropes, the first men, dwelt (ad-am means red clay, as from the pipestones quarry), was the scene where was fought the great battle between the fiends of the air, the heavenly bodies, and the earth, which is the central event of Hindu (Indian) mythology. It has been pertinently suggested that the famed Meru of the Hindus, corresponding to the classic isles of the blest in the western hemisphere, may he derived from America.

"It has long been known that America was once inhabited by a mighty population who operated copper mines, were skilled engineers, and left evidence of their arts and their commercial and political greatness in various other parts of the globe. In making excavations on Long Island, coins have been found whose inscriptions are in characters unknown in history. What became of the great multitude of the ancient Americans? Did they slowly retire from the continent on account of severe climatic changes, or were they blotted out of existence by a colossal catastrophe? The answer of the drift-covered forests and the animal remains found buried beneath from fifty to one hundred feet of non-fossiliferous clay and gravel is unequivocal. They were basking in the sunshine and were at the height of political and military greatness, dreaded by all Europe and Africa: when, lo, in the evening. terror! and before morning they were not! “This,” sang the people who dwelt under the sign of Aries, “is the portion of our spoilers. The spoilers of Ariel vanished like a dream!”

The investigations of Dawson, Geikie, Winchell, and others “place it beyond question that the drift came suddenly upon the world, slaughtering the animals, and smashing, pounding. and contorting the surface of the earth. The deposit of these continental masses of clay, sand and gravel was but one of the features of the appalling event. The Drift marks probably the must awful convulsion and catastrophe that has ever fallen upon our globe. It was sudden and overwhelming. It fell upon land-areas much like our own in geographical conformation: forest covered, inhabited; glorious lands, basking in perpetual summer, in the midst of a golden age.”

This little side step into ancient speculative history will show us that besides the supposed positive statements of some historians, an open field remains for the imagination to trace the ancient origin of mankind, and therefore, their civilization before the great catastrophe—as mentioned in all the sacred hooks of all nations—to America. With this supposition, which will justify our faith in the future fate and growth of our nation, we will deal later. For the present it ought to suffice that no matter how far we go into archeological researches of the last centuries, we cannot find the original birthplace of mankind, but have to deal in the field of art history only with those fragmentary remnants which present excavations gave is as types of ancient styles. Those tribes who wandered from Asia to Europe all traveled with reminiscences of an earlier civilization. This remembrance shows itself as the least extinguished with those Indo-German tribes, which settled in southern Europe, Japygiers, Etrusks, and Greco-Italians. In the north and west the Finns are on the boundary of history. The rich idiom of the Finns and the still existing remnants of a very perfect poetry give us proofs that their condition could have been mutilated, but by no means could it have been originally wild. The Kelts came after them pressing themselves to the outside portions of Europe, where they degenerated from an agricultural life to that of fishing and hunting. They were too, the peaceless exiles of a social body. They were followed by the Germans who knew and used iron. These German hords too, without national connections but with a mutual language connected with each other, were from society exiled homeless wanderers. Finns, Kelts, Germans, Slavs, Scandinavians, they all have brought with them to the west reminiscences, education and appropriate traditions of architecture, which mightily co-operated in the transformation of society after the fall of Rome, as active elements of the new social order and necessarily of the new born art.

The archeological excavations in Asia will bring us as the oldest civilization, that of the Hindus. They were followed by the Assyrians, and later on by the Egyptians, which Egyptian civilization however must have received an impulse from the west too. Very probably from those wanderers, who were frightened by the mighty catastrophe, which dissected America from Europe and caused the downfall and annihilation of the original civilization of Merod. It is only one step to deduct from the Egyptian and Assyrian style. that of the Greeks. which style, up to the present day. approached nearest to the aesthetically ideal. The remains of temples in Paesthum will show us the Greco-Italian art from which the Romans derived their style. The difference between the two styles confronts us, that while the Greeks proceeded to clothe their constructive elements to such an extent that in the contemplation of their buildings, we are not disturbed with the knowledge of any construction at all, but construction and decorative elements work as a harmonious unit, giving us a form which interprets the nation’s impulse after the ideally perfect. frum the other hand in the Roman style the military empire creating impulse of the nation brings the constructive element to the surface and disturbs the quiet joy of the spectator.

As an instance, I will only relate that the Greeks knew the construction and application of arches and walls and threw them away as a too much constructive element in their style. which consisted of horizontal lines, and the lack of the upright direction of an arch gives the appearance of monumentalism to all of their buildings. They were not working with such colossal dimensions as the Romans and, for their eyes, only the horizontal lines which were parallel with the ground surface were the most appropriate expressions of monumentality. How far advanced they were even above the later centuries is shown in the fact that even today their buildings will impress us as more monumental than the best and most completed creations of the Roman and Gothic styles.

While the seed of civilization was spreading from the east to the west—the decaying Roman empire, giving its mental treasure to the Franks, Spain and England—“from the north came the destruction.” The wandering tribes who were hardened by the hardships of exile, destroyed with their hordes the over-civilized empire, but in exchange for the healthy and natural blood with which they inoculated the decaying civilization, they received some of the same higher ideals and took them back into their own country and from here we can date the Romanesque and Gothic styles. From the ruins of the Roman Empire after a stagnation which lasted for centuries, in the era where the Christian empire of the venerable Church of Rome became the mistress of all the civilized nations, we see bloom the rejuvenated antique arts of the cinque centos humanists and the so-called Rennaisance independently front the purely Romanesque and Gothical directions of the north. This Rennaisance, which today is used with such an extensive liberty as excuses for several pamperings in style, unluckily for her feeding only on crumbs of antique remains, could not develop herself to such a bloom as did her northern sister, the Gothic style, with the exception of a few buildings, where the creative genius of Michael Angelo, Buonarotti, or a Bramante, carried out perfect specimens in themselves, which cannot, however, be taken as representatives of the style, just as well as the ca’ d’oro can only be taken as the perfect work of an artist’s dream but not the specimen of a nation’s style. The Romanesque remained unfinished. The devastation of Italy served only to transplant the ideas to farther countries. During this time in the north the constructive Gothic style developed herself to the fullest perfection in the Dome of Cologne. It was a conscientious, logical and mathematical covering of the constructional units to such an extent that finally there was nothing more to he covered and the Gothic style was perfection herself and improvement on her was impossible. It is only natural that the same Gothic style should find her supporters in France and even in Italy: luckily, however, even the decaying Rennaisance proved herself such a strong antagonist that the Italian Gothic had to stop. In Europe, not taking into consideration the Byzantine style which traveled eastward, the Gothic and the Rennaisance have been imagined to develop parallel. We find the German Rennaisance, Holland Rennaisance, English Rennaisance, Polish, Austrian, Hungarian Rennaisance and all kinds of Rennaisance. From the other hand there is the French, Italian, Spanish, English. Scandinavian and even Russian and Hungarian Gothic. What was the result of this so-called development? In 1870 we find a man, Gottfried Semper, whose genius recognizes the futility of copying, and he is the first who with prophetic foresight tells us that this chaos is the sign of decaying and coniused social circumstances and the necessarily healthier and more creative spirit must prevail in the formation of new styles. At that time the new Gothic direction which first was inspired by Goethe and the romantic poets tried to find footing. Its best examples are the two Gothic towers [Something appears to have dropped out.] tendency, although not universally recognized must naturally have drifted from the national to the cosmopolitan. The best example for this is the question of wearing apparel.

Today all civilized nations will follow the same style in their clothing: essentially an Englishman will wear the same clothes as a Frenchman, German, or American, and the difference among them is not in the essence but only in the geographical conditions.

All Europe today, with the exception of the wise flag-bearers of a new era, among whom Otto Wagner, can be mentioned, tries to form a national style, not knowing that all their mental energy is only the foundation to the cosmopolitan style, in which style there will be only different directions with geographical characteristics. Van de Velde in Belgium although supporting the Belgian arts in his works, is purely cosmopolitan. His works, however, will show a purely Belgian trait. His buildings are at home in Belgium and would be no where else. The Parisian Rennaisance—because all France is united in Paris, and the French style is best characterized by the word “Parisian”—reached its highest specimen in the Grand Opera and from there on it became the example for many and many copies which all have a cosmopolitan trait. Those Parisian buildings, sorry to observe, find their copies in Holland, Scandinavia, Russia, Hungary. Switzerland, Italy. Spain, South America, and, walking along Fifth Avenue and the upper 90th streets of New York. we will think ourselves in Paris if other, they say, insignificant, but nevertheless intensive and important American circumstances would not shock the thinking observer that we as a mighty nation shall sink to that step of deprivation where our artists cannot find an impulsive idea in our own land, but must copy the creations of strange nations.

Those national styles of Europe all contain the common base of the antique. Even in England the most important buildings are not built in the Gothic but in the so-called English Rennaisance. The styles of Spain today is only a revival of the antique. The naturalistie treatments of Otto Reit in Germany applied to classical buildings. Switzerland, Austria, Scandinavia, the English Colonies, South America. all have the most important buildings built in a style of which the classical is the base, yet characterized by specially nationalistic treatments. Only we pouf North Americans, we who are today the mightiest commercial factor in the household of the nations, only we must copy. copy, I repeat, our buildings either conscientiously after the antique or after art nouveau, beaux art, modern English, Knickerbocker, etc., etc., styles.

In all sciences wonderful is the American creative genius. Only architecture cannot find her supporters. The craze after wealth is killing every artistic feeling, depraving and poisoning our public which is not able, not mature enough to support and appreciate an American movement in architecture. In America we cannot find yet a right appreciation of art.

Sorry to say it is so. This appreciation is the enamel of civilization, the flower of education, the incontestible sign of a nation’s spiritual elevation. Let us understand it, that science can make a man very wise; that commerce can make a man very wealthy, but true education can be reached only through love of art. That nation cannot expect a universal progress which develops only science and commercial instincts and leaves his sentiments and the noblest feelings of his heart undeveloped. While even the pure joys of living cannot be felt by him whose soul will not rejoice in a baby’s smile, in nature’s bloom and in the artistically beautiful. I will mention only two examples. While I was in the Louvre I sat down in the Gujon Room and enjoyed the beautiful creations of antique art. I looked at the Venus of Milo, at that extremely beautiful statue which once touched to tears the dying poet Heine. A familiar sound touched my ears; it was music to me at Paris—it was the American language. 1 became enthusiastic; while even in America there are amateurs who will visit Paris, not only for the sake of the Moulin Rouge. I watched the words from their lips. The man said: “Look, look, that is a plaster cast.” The woman observing it, said: “Ah, no! That’s marble.” “Well, I tell you that is a plaster cast.” “Why, so it is!” With indifferent faces they went through this treasury worth millions and millions and began to point it out, this is marble, this is plaster cast; again, this is marble; again, this is plaster cast. See, this was in their eyes the measure of art criticism. I can say I felt myself ashamed. Finally when they arrived at the corner room which contains the Venus of Milo, the little woman already from the door exclaimed: “You see it shows from a distance that this is marble”; and he replied: “Even this is not worth anything: she hasn’t got any arms.” What a different spectacle did I witness in the Luxemburg! I was enjoying the immortal picture of the pioneer of modern painters, entitled “The Harvesters.” I was so absorbed perfectly in the colors and power of feeling expressed in this picture. Suddlenly I heard behind me. “Look, look, my boy, this is the picture of Bastienne Le Page; that there from Puvis de Chavennes; that little one from Meisonnier, all three are great French artists but I like this Harvesters the best. The master painted a picture, painted the truth. Look only closer; Isn’t it as though you stood on the meadow! Just look at that fatigued man who lies with his hat on his face! How sweetly he sleeps!” I turned around and I saw a French workingman in his overalls who conducted his family to the Luxemburg and was explaining to his eldest son. How clearly that man saw, and with what good feeling he judged everything he observed. Just imagine the difference. Can we ever find such a tender artistic feeling in our public? But I do not despair. We are yet young.

It is true that for a successful art an appreciative public is necessary, but it all will come in time. In our own art, in architecture, we have to surmount the same indifference which is prevailing in our society, must educate not only the masses, but even those who call themselves “connoisseurs of art”. The first condition, however, is that we architects shall lay the foundation of a national cosmopolitan style. Work in it. explain it to the public, and then we can hope to become the standard-bearers of all civilized nations, not only in commerce and industry, but even in art. Wonderfully creative and healthy is the American genius. The nation, a conglomerate of all races, will purify herself and necessarily will become cosmopolitan from a humanistic stand-point, not forgetting, however, that they are children of the land of the Eagle.

I began this paper with the title of “American Style” and finally arrived at the point that it is necessary to create such a style. You will very justly ask me: “Where is the way? How shall we do it?” My only answer is, "Work! put your soul into the work, do not copy, do not make Paris out of New York, don’t try to bring the Greek Parthenon to our public squares. You ought not to be taken in by the false idea of a Colonial style. Throw away the wrong notion of a Roman Catholic Gothic or of an Episcopal modern English, but go back there where you can find the aesthetical laws in some kind of a development which is the case with the antique of all the world. Go back to our own archeological excavations of Yucatan and Mexico. Take the architecture of the 18th and 19th centuries of Central America, and the New England States, use them as only conditional assistance; use our fauna and flora and textile art of the Indians, which is, in many instances, different from that of other countries for the creation of decorative elements; use the spirit of the Aztec buildings, the receding terraces, for instances, as a healthy and appropriate example of monumentality, and, in rightly using them, never forgetting the ever-existing laws of aesthetics. No building can be designated as a monster of a dreamer’s infected brain, as some of the followers of the old schools would like to call us, but it will be one step toward that direction which will bring this mighty nation nearer to her predestined fate. Never forgetting the requirements of today which cannot be solved with the historical schools, and conscientious copies, using all the materials according to their nature; applying symmetry, proportion and direction; creating a decorative style of our characteristic conditions, being all the time intensively chauvinistic; sooner or later we must become the rightful representatives of an international style which, although American in its lines, will nevertheless contain the fundamental principles of a cosmopolitan art, the name of which, however, will be known by all nations as “The American Style.”

(Sources—Hartman, Morris, Hock, Semper, Parsons, Rawlinson, Caithness, Le Plongeon, Raznarok.)

The Inland Architect and News Record, June, 1905.

In the Sources, “Raznarok” is probably Ignatius Donnelly’s Ragnarok: The Age of Fire and Gravel, a book of wild speculations about prehistoric catastrophes. Donnelly is also the one who started the Atlantis ball rolling in modern culture, and—if that were not enough—the one who proved, over the course of a thousand pages of increasingly abstruse mathematical calculations, that Bacon wrote Shakespeare. Le Plongeon wrote several books showing that the Maya were the fountains of all civilization 11,500 years ago. “Caithness” is likely to be the Countess of Caithness, Duchesse de Pomár, whose witterings on creation in Serious Letters to Serious Friends strongly resemble de Bobula’s breathtakingly confident opening here. George Rawlinson wrote a series on The Seven Great Monarchies of the Ancient Eastern World. Gottfried Semper was an architect who wrote Der Stil in der technischen und tektonischen Künsten, an influential mid-nineteenth-century treatise. Hans Heinrich Hock wrote on historical linguistics. We have not been able to determine which Morris and which Hartman are meant, but the rest of the sources give us a good idea of the reading that was infecting de Bobula’s mind.

Leave a reply...