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Judith Dupré’s books investigate history through the lens of an individual building type, whether skyscrapers, bridges, churches or monuments. She seeks to captivate the imagination of the general reader, and illuminate the relationship between the arts, the built environment and one’s quality of life. Her narrative nonfiction books have been critically received and translated into fourteen languages. Her editorials and essays have appeared in America, Architectural Record, The New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, The Daily Beast, Huffington Post, and Wowowow, among others.
An image is just as likely to inspire an essay as something that is read or heard. Dupré is “one of the few historians who use photographs, drawings, prints, and paintings as original evidence in themselves rather than as mere illustrations of a textually delivered argument,” noted Bernard F. Reilly, president of the Center for Research Libraries. She also conceives of the books’ major design conventions and unique bindings. Expressing the multiple dimensions of time and history within the limits of the printed page is a persistent subtext.
A book’s excellence relates to a fundamental physicality—the book’s hand, how it feels when one holds it, the sensual intake of its paper, scent, color, the way the type inhabits the page and dances fast then slow with the white spaces. The best of them seem to breathe, are living things. A good book inspires a covetous desire to own both the aesthetic and ideas espoused, making you think about the subject matter and also about the book itself. It inspires love.