This volume looks at the meaning of architecture, including essays by architectural writers and cultural critics. Also included are a wide variety of visual materials that includes historical works and those by contemporary architects. Has 20th-century modernist architecture forever banished the possibility of pursuing art's 'great themes' in architecture? This title uses the theme of the tragic to ask some of the most far-reaching questions about the meaning of contemporary architecture. It explores the possibility of whether a return to explicitly narrative traditions would recuperate the human significance of its subjects. The theme is opened up by a reassessment of tragedy in the history of aesthetics, a critique of the origins of the modernist aesthetic and by relating trauma studies, which have been applied to other cultural criticism, to architecture.