Robert Pogue Harrison
The University of Chicago Press, Chicago, 2008, English
Nonfiction, Landscape Design
ISBN: 9780226317892

From the Publisher. This book offers an examination of the many ways gardens evoke the human condition. It shows how the garden has served as a check against the destruction and losses of history. The ancients, explains Harrison, viewed gardens as both a model and a location for the laborious self-cultivation and self-improvement that are essential to serenity and enlightenment, an association that has continued throughout the ages. The Bible and Qur’an; Plato’s Academy and Epicurus’s Garden School; Zen rock and Islamic carpet gardens; Boccaccio, Rihaku, Capek, Cao Xueqin, Italo Calvino, Ariosto, Michel Tournier, and Hannah Arendt—all come into play as this work explores the ways in which the concept and reality of the garden has informed human thinking about mortality, order, and power.

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Diana Balmori

Robert Pogue Harrison provides a conceptual frame for the work of making a garden, pointing to the importance—and at times, the necessity—of creating and caring for it. Gardens are fundamental, he says, in giving order to our relation to nature, rather than bringing an order to nature. That is the idea that made this book a favorite of mine.

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