At face value, On Accident, an extraordinary book of historiographic essays by Edward Eigen, offers, as the subtitle contends, twelve “episodes in architecture and landscape.” An assessment might therefore be expected to follow the usual route and evaluate the content of each case study while pausing occasionally to quibble with a fact here, an interpretation there. The modest subtitle, however, obscures a larger ambition that emerges from the composition as a whole. Through a facility with language and a delightful command of detail, Eigen stages a dozen scenarios that demonstrate how we come to understand what it is we think we know. The discussion might engage the...

You do not currently have access to this content.