THE VILLA: Form and Ideology of Country Houses by James S. Ackerman (Princeton University Press/Bollingen: $ 24.95 ; 304 pp.). In this expanded series of lectures delivered at Princeton in 1985, art historian James Ackerman argues that, unlike other rural dwellings, the villa was specifically created to provide a respite from the stress of urban life. At various times, these country residences have been set amid working farms or pleasure gardens, but they always existed within the context of the city. Ackerman's readable text offers insights into the increasingly popular and lavish second homes being built in America.
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