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Wildness in the English Garden Tradition: A Reassessment of the Picturesque from Environmental Philosophy

Isis Brook
Ethics and the Environment
Vol. 13, No. 1 (Spring, 2008), pp. 105-119
Published by: Indiana University Press
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/40339150
Page Count: 15
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Wildness in the English Garden Tradition: A Reassessment of the Picturesque from Environmental Philosophy
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Abstract

The picturesque is usually interpreted as an admiration of 'picture-like,' and thus inauthentic, nature. In contrast, this paper sets out an interpretation that is more in accord with the contemporary love of wildness. This paper will briefly cover some garden history in order to contextualize the discussion and proceed by reassessing the picturesque through the eighteenth century works of Price and Watelet. It will then identify six themes in their work (variety, intricacy, engagement, time, chance, and transition) and show that, far from forcing a 'picture-like' stereotype on nature, the picturesque guided the way for a new appreciation of wildness— one that resonates with contemporary environmental philosophy.

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