Locus Amoenus: Gardens and Horticulture in the Renaissance

Locus Amoenus: Gardens and Horticulture in the Renaissance

Locus Amoenus: Gardens and Horticulture in the Renaissance

Locus Amoenus: Gardens and Horticulture in the Renaissance

Synopsis

Locus Amoenus provides a pioneering collection of new perspectives on Renaissance garden history, and the impact of its development. Experts in the field illustrate the extent of our knowledge of how the natural world looked and how humans related to their environment.
  • A ground-breaking collection of new perspectives on garden history
  • Essays demonstrate the extent of our knowledge of how the natural world looked and how humans related to their environment
  • The book's broad coverage includes botany and herbals, literary reflections of changing ideas of landscape and nature, and human's place within it
  • Contributors come from a wide range of experts, including archaeologists, scholars and the librarian and archivist to the Royal Horticultural Society
  • Reflects the growing emergence of this field, which has been assisted both by archaeology and ideas from green studies and environmental criticism
  • Richly illustrated throughout

Excerpt

ALEXANDER SAMSON

Annihilating all that’s made
To a green thought in a green shade.

Andrew Marvell, ‘The Garden’.

Gardens, horticulture and their literary representation intersected with many of the critical, defining social transformations of the early modern period; from shifting patterns of land use to evolving political discourses of magnificence and power, new scientific ideas about the natural world, botany and medicinal writing, religious changes and aesthetics. The natural world was invoked to justify and make sense of unprecedented social, cultural and political change. However, gardens also reflected new forms of self-fashioning, leisure and pleasure. Garden history has not been revolutionized by the emergence of environmental criticism, instead gardens have become intertwined in other disciplinary areas from archaeology to gender studies, art history to literary studies. This volume seeks to demonstrate the ubiquity of the garden in Renaissance culture, whether as metaphor, symbol or real space, as a site for contemplation, agricultural production or cultural inscription, and at the same time reflect the diversity and range of academic writing on the subject. Woodcut illustrations in herbals (medicinal treatises about plants) were pirated and reused to the point of being unrecognizable and of no practical use in the identification and classification of plants. This points to the persistent tension between experience and authority in the way the natural world was understood. The emergence of horticulture and botany as

John Dixon Hunt (ed.), The Oxford Book of Garden Verse (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1993), 56. One of the most important writers on gardens, landscape architecture and the natural world in literature of his generation, John was due to contribute to this volume but was sadly unable to. We would like to dedicate it to him. Founder of the Journal of Garden History, Word & Image, and series editor of Penn Studies in Landscape Architecture, whose recent publications include Raffaella Fabiani Giannetto’s Medici Gardens: From Making to Design (Philadelphia: University of Philadelphia Press, 2008), he is the author of classics like Garden and Grove: the Italian Renaissance Garden in the England Imagination, 1600–1750 (London: J. M. Dent & Sons Ltd., 1986) and The Figure in the Landscape: Poetry, Painting and Gardening during the 18 Century (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1976).

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