Like all of Robert Harbison's works, "Eccentric Spaces" is a hybrid, informed by the author's interests in art, architecture, fiction, poetry, landscape, geography, history, and philosophy. The subject is the human imagination--and the mysterious interplay between the imagination and the spaces it has made for itself to live in: gardens, rooms, buildings, streets, museums and maps, fictional topographies, and architectures. The book is a lesson in seeing and sensing the manifold forms created by the mind for its own pleasure. Palaces and haunted houses, Victorian parlors, Renaissance sculpture gardens, factories, hill-towns, ruins, cities, even novels and paintings constructed around such environments--these are the spaces over which the author broods. Brilliantly learned, deliberately remote in form from conventional scholarship, "Eccentric Spaces" is a magical book, an intellectual adventure, a celebration. Since its original publication in 1977, "Eccentric Spaces" has had a devoted readership. Now it is available to be discovered by a new generation of readers.
Eccentric Spaces... makes me want to rush out in every direction at once and reexamine all I have ever seen. You can hardly ask a book to do more than that. -- Anatole Broyard * New York Times *