Students dig deep into gardening theory with Christopher Thacker's
History of Gardens (California, 1979). Thacker traces the
origins of gardening back to the natural paradises of Greek myth
and surveys the shifting trends of garden design through the ages:
the Renaissance in Italy, France, and England; the reign of Louis
XIV, who set the standard for the formal French garden at Versailles;
18th-century England, when the landed gentry took up gardening.
through the quarter, students consider Baroque gardens as a form
of theater-with art-history professor Kimerly Rorschach's caveat
that this line of thought is still "speculative." One
of the readings comes from The Theatrical Baroque, a catalog
for a 2001 Smart Museum exhibition written by Larry Norman, assistant
professor in Romance languages & literatures.
isn't the only Chicago name on the syllabus. Landscape has been
a theme for several faculty who also crop up on the reading list.
A selection on the Italian Renaissance garden comes from Landscape
and Power (Chicago, 1994), edited by W. J. T. Mitchell, the
Gaylord Donnelley distinguished service professor. For the French
formal gardens at Vaux-le-Vicomte and Versailles in week four,
there's a selection from Consumption and the World of Goods
(Routledge, 1993), edited by John Brewer, the John & Marion
Sullivan University professor. When students turn their attention
to English landscape gardens in weeks seven and eight, they read
"Land and National Representation in Britain" by Elizabeth
Helsinger, the John Matthews Manly distinguished service professor,
in Prospects for the Nation: Recent Essays in British Landscape,
1750-1880 (Yale, 1997). There's also Rorschach's own The Early
Georgian Landscape Garden (Yale Center for British Art, 1983).
what's a course nowadays without a Web site? Rorschach's site
sends students across the Pond on virtual garden tours.