Summer 1947 • Vol. IX No. 3 Book Reviews |

French Uncle

When the Cathedrals Were White, a Journey to the Country of Timid People by Le Corbusier. Reynal and Hitchcock. $3.00. "If you express great admiration," says Le Corbusier of the Americans, "you will overwhelm them." I think that our embarrassment comes from the fact that Americans know better than the distinguished tourist what the score is. This little book is full of admiration for such American things as the speed of the elevators in Radio City, air-conditioning, the dining cars on the trains, and the sacred enthusiasm of alumni at football games. These are taken as proofs of vigor, youth, and a lively future. It is pathetic and sometimes ignorant beyond belief. On the dark side he sees excessive hurrying, too much transportation and advertising, the retreat of Vassar girls into Caravaggio and surrealism, the breakdown of family life. But all this part can be remedied, he believes, by rational planning on the pattern of the spaced skyscrapers of the Ville Radieuse. Alas!

Already have an account? Login

Join KR for even more to read.

Register for a free account to read five free pieces a month from our current issue and digital archive.
Register for Free and Read This Piece

Or become a subscriber today and get complete, immediate access to our digital archives at every subscription level.

Read More


Your free registration with Kenyon review incudes access to exclusive content, early access to program registration, and more.


With your support, we’ll continue 
to cultivate talent and publish extraordinary literature from diverse voices around the world.