When it was first released in 1962, The Shape of Time presented a radically new approach to the study of art history.
Drawing upon new insights in fields such as anthropology and linguistics, George Kubler replaced the notion of style
as the basis for histories of art with the concept of historical sequence and continuous change across time.
“The Shape of Time is as relevant now as it was in 1962. This book, a sober, deeply introspective, and quietly thrilling
meditation on the flow of time and space and the place of objects within a larger continuum, adumbrates so many of
the critical and theoretical concerns of the late twentieth and early twenty-first century. It is both appropriate and
necessary that it re-appear in our consciousness at this time.” —Edward J. Sullivan, New York University
In a study of formal and symbolic durations the author presents a radically new approach to the problem of historical
change. Using new ideas in anthropology and linguistics, he pursues such questions as the nature of time, the nature
of change, and the meaning of invention. The result is a view of historical sequence aligned on continuous change
more than upon the static notion of style—the usual basis for conventional histories of art.
George Kubler (1912–1996) was Sterling Professor of the History of Art at Yale University. He is also author of
The Art and Architecture of Ancient America (Yale).