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A Cultural History of Gardens

6 Volumes

      The history of gardens in antiquity is characterized by a rich mix of cultures interacting throughout Europe, Africa and Asia. This period - from the sixth century BCE to the sixth century CE - was foundational to the later periods of garden history. The emergence of advanced horticultural techniques, sustained regional and international trade routes, and centralized power structures promoted the development of highly sophisticated garden culture in both private and public contexts.

      New evidence derived from archaeology and fresh analysis of literary and visual sources revises our perspective, reminding us that these garden cultures were varied and diverse, yet connected through ritual, trade, conquest, and cultural practices in ways we are only beginning to define.

      The Middle Ages was a time of great upheaval - the period between the seventh and fourteenth centuries saw great social, political and economic change. The radically distinct cultures of the Christian West, Byzantium, Persian-influenced Islam, and al-Andalus resulted in different responses to the garden arts of antiquity and different attitudes to the natural world and its artful manipulation. Yet these cultures interacted and communicated, trading plants, myths and texts. By the fifteenth century the garden as a cultural phenomenon was immensely sophisticated and a vital element in the way society saw itself and its relation to nature.

      A Cultural History of Gardens in the Medieval Age presents an overview of the period with essays on issues of design, types of gardens, planting, use and reception, issues of meaning, verbal and visual representation of gardens, and the relationship of gardens to the larger landscape.

      The history of the garden in the Renaissance, traced from the late fourteenth century in Italy to the death of André Le NÔtre in 1700 in France, is a story both of dynamism and codification. The period saw the emergence of what would become archetypal elements of the formal garden and the fixing of theory and language of the garden arts.

      At the same time, newly important sciences, developments in engineering, as well as globalization, historicity, and theories of aesthetics were embraced in the construction of such gardens. The result was the notion of the landscape as something to be labored on, created, and delighted in, that ultimately would become a stage upon which Renaissance cultural politics played out.

      A Cultural History of Gardens in the Renaissance presents an overview of the period with essays on issues of design, types of gardens, planting, use and reception, issues of meaning, verbal and visual representation of gardens, and the relationship of gardens to the larger landscape.

      The Enlightenment raised fundamental questions about what it meant to be human in a truly global world. At the heart of debates about nature, culture and history, the garden offered itself as a practical demonstration, a living experiment, and a site of debate and discourse.

      The design, planting, experience and representation of contemporary gardens in Europe, China and North America reveal intense contributions to debates on aesthetics, both personal and national politics, and on the shaping of nature.

      A Cultural History of Gardens in the Age of Enlightenment presents an overview of the period with essays on issues of design, types of gardens, planting, use and reception, issues of meaning, verbal and visual representation of gardens, and the relationship of gardens to the larger landscape.

      As much as the nineteenth and early twentieth century gardens and their designs were a product and representation of industrialisation and urbanisation, they were also motors of change. Gardens became an industry in and of themselves. They were both the last resting places of the dead and cultivated plots for surv ival. Gardens were therapeutic environments regarded as civilising, socialising and assimialting institutions, and they were designed and perceived as social landscapes and community playgrounds.

      Rich with symbolism, gardens were treated as the subject and the setting for literature and painting and were often considerd works of art in themselves. In a time of empire, when plants were drawn from across the globe, gardens also reflected territorial conquest and expansion and they fostered national, regional and local identities.

      A Cultural History of Gardens in the Age of Empire presents an overview of the period with essays on issues of design, types of gardens, planting, use and reception, issues of meaning, verbal and visual representation of gardens, and the relationship of gardens to the larger landscape.

      Landscape architecture and garden-making have witnessed huge changes during the twentieth-century, and the impact of these will continue to be discussed and interpreted in the twenty-first.

      New materials and responses to different social conditions, along with new attitudes to how gardens are perceived and interpreted and above all the relationship of built work to the larger landscape of territory and society - all have challenged long-held practices of garden-making, even while those same traditions continue to be at the centre of both designers and users.

      A Cultural History of Gardens in the Modern Age presents an overview of the period with essays on issues of design, types of gardens, planting, use and reception, issues of meaning, verbal and visual representation of gardens, and the relationship of gardens to the larger landscape.