List of illustrations

  • Saint Fiachra
  • Open or closed, the medieval hortus
  • Le Roman de la Rose
  • Le Livre des simples
  • The Gardens of the Villa Medici (detail)
  • The Dream of Poliphilo
  • The Beautiful Gardener (La Belle Jardinière)
  • Paterres en broderies in front of the Tuileries
  • Paterres en broderies in front of the Tuileries
  • The fountain of Arethusa
  • Exit gate of the Parc des Plaisirs du Prince
  • The Temple of Love at Malmaison
  • Jardins, parcs ou carrières, project pour le domaine de Versailles
  • The park of Buttes-Chaumont
  • Pamphlet for the "Ligne français du coin de terre et du foyer." A worker garden.
  • The Sacred Wood (Le bois sacré)
  • Behind the Sailboats (Derrière les voiliers)
  • Aerial view of the Parc de La Villette. In the foreground, the Cité de la Musique by Christian de Portamparc. In the background, the Cité des Sciences et de l"industrie by Fainsilber
  • Project for the park of Sunset, Seine Saint-Denis
  • The front garden (detail), project for the new city of Isle-d'Abeau
Free
Description: Reading the French Garden: Story and History
Contents
PublisherMIT Press
Description: Reading the French Garden: Story and History
At that time, bramble and lentisk were swallowing up marbles and colonnades relentlessly. Nettle was growing over the pavement, couch grass between the mosaics, and the ancient topiary decoration was vanishing in the confused growth of the unpruned cypresses among the shaggy boxwood. The water beneath the duckweed was stagnant, the beehives and aviaries empty. Near the caved-in pools, the tangled...
PublisherMIT Press

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Description: Reading the French Garden: Story and History
Fiachra’s work ushered in the renaissance of the Western garden. Not that the “garden” of Breuil could be compared to the beautiful works designed by Gallo-Roman culture and described by Pliny the Elder, Pliny the Younger, Ovid, Palladius, Vitruvius, or Sidonius, or to the virtuous compositions that were being built in China and in Persia in the same period. But the West of that...
PublisherMIT Press

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Description: Reading the French Garden: Story and History
~One fine afternoon in the summer of 1360, Guillaume de Machaut was taking a siesta in his country garden near the city of Reims. Lying in the grass in the shade of an apple tree with his amice spread wide over his face so that the “sweet heat of the sun would harm neither body nor eye,” the poet dozed, sweetly digesting his noontime meal and...
PublisherMIT Press

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Description: Reading the French Garden: Story and History
The courtly garden, a symbolic theater where, behind high walls, a learned aristocracy played the ideal comedy of ordering passions, is a far cry from Fiachra’s kitchen garden or Walahfrid Strabus’s herbularius. These closed spaces, thoroughly artificial in their conception, have no apparent utility: in them we do not witness one nature, recomposed in the style of literary and...
PublisherMIT Press

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Description: Reading the French Garden: Story and History
~“And why should I receive this monk, Basileo? You know very well that Aldus Manutius’s presses will not debase themselves by printing ordinary writings. The only ones we consider are of the highest order, and those are brought to me by scholars I know.”
PublisherMIT Press

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Description: Reading the French Garden: Story and History
The gardens of the Dream of Poliphilo have kept some of the features of the medieval vergiers. Thus, they are always enclosed, protected by walls or tall hedges of tangled trees whose growth has been forced in such a way as to produce artificial twists in the trunks and branches: a development against nature making the screen of greenery more opaque, while offering the visitor the...
PublisherMIT Press

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Description: Reading the French Garden: Story and History
~A gentle wind is blowing in the Cevennes today. The harsh line of greenhouses where the snow is beginning to melt is etched against the horizon.
PublisherMIT Press

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Description: Reading the French Garden: Story and History
If Olivier de Serres is such an important figure in the history of the French garden, it is because he represents an attempt at a fragile equilibrium during the cruel watershed of the Wars of Religion, while also standing for a composite tradition that would subsequently follow one of several paths, either reemerging in the formal French garden in the seventeenth century or following a more...
PublisherMIT Press

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Description: Reading the French Garden: Story and History
~When Hyacinth’s letter was brought to me, inviting me to the feast Oronte was having on his property at Vaux, I was in my apartment. I was in that state of light melancholy that often disturbs women while they are women. My heart, moreover, was pained by the sad rumbling over Oronte’s head. I had always considered Hyacinth’s friend and protector...
PublisherMIT Press

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Description: Reading the French Garden: Story and History
“The face of the theater is changing” Louis XIV declared, according to Brienne, when he announced to the Council on March 9, 1661, his decision to govern himself.
PublisherMIT Press

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Description: Reading the French Garden: Story and History
In fact, the man who had, since his early childhood, placed his life, ideas, and the Ermenonville—that is to say his work—under the aegis of his illustrious contemporary, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, and who received the old man after waiting for him so long, did not know that his own tragedy would begin about ten years after the philosopher’s death, forcing him, who would be stubborn...
PublisherMIT Press

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Description: Reading the French Garden: Story and History
~I had decided that morning to go by way of the Père-Lachaise Cemetery. I don’t know why. Maybe because it was cold. Or because of the atmosphere at the office, which was as cutting as the knives of ice hanging from the gutters and divided into two irreconcilable clans the “old ones” of the imperial administration from the “new...
PublisherMIT Press

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Description: Reading the French Garden: Story and History
In making Barillet-Deschamps a second Le Nôtre, whom his old bosses, with the help of a few of his envious colleagues, threw into obscurity so that they...
PublisherMIT Press

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Description: Reading the French Garden: Story and History
~The subtle smell of honeysuckle combined with the rich perfume of roses filling the tall white room, and when the June breeze rustled through the Atlas cedars with their bluish leaves, the golden spruces, the black pines of Austria, the hornbeams, the beech trees, and the oaks, a vast fragrance came in through the open window. It seemed to climb an invisible line,...
PublisherMIT Press

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Description: Reading the French Garden: Story and History
During the night, between the thirteenth and fourteenth of November, 1940, abandoned by everyone in his big house empty of furniture, Albert Kahn was dying amid indifference. Who, in these distressing times, was going to worry about a poor, eighty-year-old Jew who had been foolish enough to engulf his fortune in the pursuit of a...
PublisherMIT Press

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Description: Reading the French Garden: Story and History
~Here I stand, amazed, on the figurative road of mystery: in the first twist, behind the castle of water, after the gray back of the last housing project, when everything meets the wind, when the Amazon casts its waters into the Seine, in the alhambra pavilion.
PublisherMIT Press

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Description: Reading the French Garden: Story and History
Index of Names
PublisherMIT Press
Reading the French Garden: Story and History
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