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Claude-Nicolas Ledoux's engraving Coup d'oeil du theatre Besancon, in which the architect's building is seen reflected in the eye of a viewer, is the centerpiece of in this intellectual archaeology. Rodolphe el-Khoury's close reading of Ledoux's celebrated icon uses it to excavate the foundations of architectural transparency, Modernism's most potent and lasting "invention," which is here traced back to an intellectual milieu that precedes the industrial revolution's glass and steel building technology. The image becomes a site of entry into the culture of the eighteenth century--debates in public health, the political ideas of Rousseau, the philosophy of Condillac, the project of the Encyclopaedie--yielding insights into important philosophical and architectural issues. The book includes a translation of Ledoux's chapter on the theater from his magnum opus, Considarae Sous le Rapport de l'art, des Moers, et de la Legislation.