Greater Perfections: The Practice of Garden Theory

University of Pennsylvania Press, 2000 - 273 pagina's
If gardening is most usually thought of as a practical activity, John Dixon Hunt's book explores the theoretical or conceptual basis of garden art. This involves taking a coherent and large-scale view of the garden in human culture throughout different times and places and treating the garden as the epitome of place-making or what is nowadays termed landscape architecture.

Greater Perfections explores the meanings of "garden" and its relationship to other interventions into the natural world. It looks at the role of verbal and visual languages in place-making as well as the fashion in which gardens have been represented in the visual and literary arts. But above all, it offers a new and challenging account of the role of representation in garden art itself.

Though his book draws upon many different historical traditions and archival materials (including a rich array of visual illustration), Hunt undertakes one main historical excursus: into the exciting theoretical world of the late seventeenth century, in and around the figure of John Evelyn. This example of the contemplation or deep scrutiny and understanding of design from with in its own praxis sustains the final section of the book on contemporary landscape architecture. Hunt calls for a new history of landscape architecture as the basis for redirecting its energies and vision into built work, some recent examples of which are considered.

Greater Perfections seeks to celebrate the rich traditions of place-making, along with the equally diverse topics that its practitioners have addressed through their work, and connect them with the contemporary perception and design of sites. Wide-ranging in its references -- from Babylon toBattery Park City and Parc Bercy, from Renaissance villas to reconstituted wetlands, from Elizabethan poetry to Wallace Stevens and Ian Hamilton Finlay -- Greater Perfections proposes a wholly fresh basis for the understanding of that most vital and persistent human activity: the making of gardens.


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First Principles or Rudiments i
What on Earth Is a Garden?
The Idea of a Garden and the Three Natures
Word and Image in the Garden
Gardens in Word and Image
Late SeventeenthCentury Garden Theory
Toward a New Historiography and New Practices
Select Bibliography

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Over de auteur (2000)

John Dixon Hunt is Professor of Landscape Architecture and Chair of the Department of Landscape Architecture and Regional Planning at the University of Pennsylvania.

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