In Histories of the Immediate Present: Inventing Architectural Modernism, Anthony Vidler argues provocatively that architectural history has exercised a considerable influence over modern architecture since its beginnings——a surprising concept for a movement which, at its most polemical, rejected history and championed its own autonomy. Vidler summarizes his position with regard to this paradox: "History was at once source, verification, and authorization" (13). He problematizes this polemic by also maintaining that architectural autonomy is central to his understanding of modernism and the writing of its narratives. Autonomy is defined as "the notion that architecture, together with the other arts, is bound to an internal exploration and transformation of its own specific language" (17). He hints at a dialectical analysis of autonomy and history in the book's introduction, and fully develops the concept in the final chapter. In between, separate chapters devoted...

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