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Gardens: An Essay on the Human Condition [Format Kindle]

Robert Pogue Harrison

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Présentation de l'éditeur



Humans have long turned to gardens—both real and imaginary—for sanctuary from the frenzy and tumult that surrounds them. Those gardens may be as far away from everyday reality as Gilgamesh’s garden of the gods or as near as our own backyard, but in their very conception and the marks they bear of human care and cultivation, gardens stand as restorative, nourishing, necessary havens.


With Gardens, Robert Pogue Harrison graces readers with a thoughtful, wide-ranging examination of the many ways gardens evoke the human condition. Moving from from the gardens of ancient philosophers to the gardens of homeless people in contemporary New York, he shows how, again and again, 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.


Alive with the echoes and arguments of Western thought, Gardens is a fitting continuation of the intellectual journeys of Harrison’s earlier classics, Forests and The Dominion of the Dead. Voltaire famously urged us to cultivate our gardens; with this compelling volume, Robert Pogue Harrison reminds us of the nature of that responsibility—and its enduring importance to humanity.


"I find myself completely besotted by a new book titled Gardens: An Essay on the Human Condition, by Robert Pogue Harrison. The author . . . is one of the very best cultural critics at work today. He is a man of deep learning, immense generosity of spirit, passionate curiosity and manifold rhetorical gifts."—Julia Keller, Chicago Tribune


"This book is about gardens as a metaphor for the human condition. . . . Harrison draws freely and with brilliance from 5,000 years of Western literature and criticism, including works on philosophy and garden history. . . . He is a careful as well as an inspiring scholar."—Tom Turner, Times Higher Education


"When I was a student, my Cambridge supervisor said, in the Olympian tone characteristic of his kind, that the only living literary critics for whom he would sell his shirt were William Empson and G. Wilson Knight.  Having spent the subsequent 30 years in the febrile world of academic Lit. Crit. . . . I’m not sure that I’d sell my shirt for any living critic.  But if there had to be one, it would unquestionably be Robert Pogue Harrison, whose study Forests: The Shadow of Civilization, published in 1992, has the true quality of literature, not of criticism—it stays with you, like an amiable ghost, long after you read it.


“Though more modest in scope, this new book is similarly destined to become a classic. It has two principal heroes: the ancient philosopher Epicurus . . . and the wonderfully witty Czech writer Karel Capek, apropos of whom it is remarked that, whereas most people believe gardening to be a subset of life, ‘gardeners, including Capek, understand that life is a subset of gardening.’”—Jonathan Bate, The Spectator



Biographie de l'auteur

Robert Pogue Harrison is the Rosina Pierotti Professor of Italian Literature at Stanford University. He is the author of four books, including Forests: The Shadow of Civilization and The Dominion of the Dead, both published by the University of Chicago Press.

Détails sur le produit

  • Format : Format Kindle
  • Taille du fichier : 2087 KB
  • Nombre de pages de l'édition imprimée : 264 pages
  • Editeur : University of Chicago Press (15 novembre 2008)
  • Vendu par : Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Langue : Anglais
  • ASIN: B001R23RI2
  • Synthèse vocale : Activée
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  • Classement des meilleures ventes d'Amazon: n°140.080 dans la Boutique Kindle (Voir le Top 100 dans la Boutique Kindle)
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Commentaires en ligne

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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.3 étoiles sur 5  13 commentaires
26 internautes sur 27 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 A garden of delights 22 novembre 2008
Par George Allan - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié
Harrison is insightful -- and inciteful -- in his exploration of the various kinds of gardens that are important to our sense of who we are, our self-understanding as members of Western civilization. He is erudite in the wealth of literary and philosophical materials from which he draws, but he writes clearly so what he has to say is very accessible to a reader without specialized knowledge about those materials. He has profound things to say about everyday gardens, about gardening in the literal sense of creating a place where flowers or other plants grow. He develops sometimes startling ideas about the meaning of gardens such as Eden's (thanks to Eve, we escaped its dehumanizing confines), Louis XIV's (Versailles imposes a deadening abstract human construct on the living vitality of nature), and Paradise (to be avoided). The garden of Epicurus is his recommended kind of garden: where we can learn patience, hope, and gratitude - the virtues that will save us from the frenetic denaturing extremes of our contemporary way of living. This is a wonderful book, as were Harrison's earlier books on the forest and on death.
11 internautes sur 12 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Gardens as a lens into the human spirit 1 février 2009
Par K. G. Karl - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié
Another fine meditation and critical study by Robert Pogue Harrison of man's relationship to nature, this time through the lens of "the garden". From the Garden of Eden, to Japanese zen gardens, to manicured formal gardens, to tiny spaces in homeless encampments, Mr. Harrison explores mankind's need for and relationship to gardens -- their importance as quiet spaces in which we can relate to nature on a human scale, as retreats for quieting and refilling the spirit, as sources of literary and romantic inspiration, as windows into biological process and truth. His writing is at once scholarly, poetic, thought provoking and insightful, and is best read slowly, both to savor Pogue's beautiful language and to allow his ideas to take root and flower in your mind.
15 internautes sur 18 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Professor Harrison again provides insight 6 décembre 2008
Par Kenneth R. Gundle - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié|Achat vérifié
As in "Dominion of the Dead," Professor Harrison has taken a topic (this time Gardens and our relations to them) and interwoven scholarship with stirring judgment. I am no gardener; this book can resonate with all who take up work and action to cultivate anyone or anything. The chapter on Care was particularly poignant. For example, on page 27, Harrison writes: "Care is accustomed to act, to take the initiative, to stake its claims, yet powerlessness and even helplessness are as intrinsic to the lived experience of care as the latter's irrepressible impulse to act, enable, nurse, and promote."

If you have read and were moved by "Dominion of the Dead," or if you are one of the many listeners of his insightful radio show/podcast called "Entitled Opinions," or if you are one of us seeking for bold thinkers willing to powerfully interpret our current human condition, then sit down somewhere comfortable and open this important book.
4 internautes sur 5 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Thought provoking and insightful 1 juin 2009
Par Ann Armbrecht - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié
Like Forests: The Shadow of Civilization, Gardens is a book to linger over and come back to. The breadth of knowledge Harrison brings to cultivating a plot of soil enriches the experience of gardening itself. More importantly, it offers important insights into our relationship as a culture to the earth and how we might deepen that relationship.
5.0 étoiles sur 5 written with beauty and insight...a very, very good read 10 juillet 2014
Par Susan Dunlap - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié|Achat vérifié
If you love gardening or plants you will truly enjoy this book. It is written with poetic beauty and scholarly insight and invites contemplation - just as the gardens and plants which give you pleasure. Harrison thinks, and writes, about gardens with a novelty that deserves our attention. He has poured his soul into this material and we might respond by reading it to glean the amazing thoughts he conveys on these pages, put there for our benefit.
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