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The A re ne KK N SCHOLAR WINTER 2006 + $7.95 / 9.95 Canadas Anti-Semitism’s New Rationale In the Middle East, the racial and religious accusations of the past no longer apply. Now the justification for hating Jews is ideological, By Bernard Lewis PLUS What Ever Happened to the Working Class? By William Deresiewicz The Most Beautiful Refugee Camp _A Villa in Suburbia By David Summers By Witold Rybegynski In Memory of August Wilson Exploring Esperantoland By Elizabeth Alexander By Arika Okrent CRITICISM Wayne Gurtis tells why Frank Gehry must be stopped Garry Wills looks into Lincoln's Cabinet Francisco Ayala says intelligent design is blasphemy Lincoln Bonus: Honest Abe’s off-color jokes Palladio in the Rough A South Carolinian builds classical revival houses that really look old WITOLD RYBOZYNSKI he suburbs of Charleston, South Carolina, resemble those of any other modern metropolitan area: strip malls line highway and drive-through restaurants mask a leafy interior of residen- tial subdivisions with such names as Sweetgrass, North Creek, and White Gables. Most of the romanticsounding names are developers’ inventions, but one—Otranto—is an exception. The name belongs to an antebellum indigo plantation that was subdivided in the 1960s. The original plantation house, which dates from the middle of the 18th century, still stands—a low, rambling structure surrounded by deep verandas that recall Margaret Mitchell's description of Tara. The recently built houses of Otranto are pleasant, iftunremarkable—brick ranchers with two-car garages and basketball hoops in the driveways, clap- board splitlevels, commodious bungalows with lov-county-style por One of them, the house at the head of Leone Crescent, is different. Its facade is distinguished by a large classical portico of the sort that most people asso- ciate with small-town banks. Bulky square columns support the portico, and the plain, ochercolored walls are rudely plastered and have tall windows with green shutters. The house is on one floor but is surprisingly massive, its ponderous simplicity suggesting great age, an impression reinforced by the lack of contemporary details and the roughness of its finish. Like the old plantation house, it seems to have stood there forever. In fact, itis the newest building on the block, Alan and Julia Johnson moved into the house three summers ago. He is a high school science teacher; she’s a hospice nuise. They have two teenage boys, Julian and Eric. An SuVand a Saturn sedan rest in the driveway; a riding mower stands in the garage. In most ways this is not an unuswal family, and the family doesn’t inhabit the house in an unusual way. The living room, which homebuilders would call a great room, is divided into several areas: couches in front of the fireplace, =2 Witold Rybezynski, the author of baoks on Palladio and Frederick Law Olmsted, is the Meyerson Professor of Urbanisi at the University of Pennsylva 53 THE AMERIGAN SCHOLAR The font facade ofthe Johnson house in Otranto julia’s upright piano at one end, and a television-watehing area at the other. ‘The furniture is comfortable but not particularly fashionable, There are lots of bookshelves, A compact kitchen overlooks the dining area, which is visible from the living room. The arrangement of kids’ and parents’ bedrooms and bathrooms and a compact study is also not unconventional, But theirs is not an ordinary house. You enter the living room through: large arches supported by 10-foot-tall classical columns with imposts, or cap- stones, in the shape of rough boulders. Arches crisscross the foyer. An opemair courtyard in the middle of the house provides light as well as a private outdoor space; its half-columns and arched openings make it resem- ble a Roman atrium. Then there is the scale. The living room has 16-foot ceiling, the front doors are 10 feet tall, and the bedroom windows, which appear small from the outside, are equally tall. The exterior columns meas- ure 80 inches on each side, as big as telephone booths. How did the Johnsons come to build this new/old house? “We'd lived in our previous house for 15 years, and it no longer worked for us,” says Julia, “so we wanted to move.” They decided against buying an old house, since old houses in the South often have mildew and other environmental problems that might trigger their allergies and asthma, Books of house plans didn’t turn up anything suitable. Julia’s brother, George Holt, isa builder, so from time to time they would show him plans, and he would comment on them. One day he appeared 80, 54