Women, Literature, and the Domesticated Landscape

Women, Literature, and the Domesticated Landscape : England's Disciples of Flora, 1780-1870

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Combining an analysis of literature and art, this book contends that the 'domesticated landscape' is key to understanding women's complex negotiation of private and public life in a period of revolution and transition. As more women became engaged in horticultural and botanical pursuits, the meaning of gardens - recognized here both as sites of pleasure and labor, and as conceptual and symbolic spaces - became more complex. Women writers and artists often used gardens to educate their readers, to enter into political and cultural debates, and to signal moments of intellectual and spiritual insight. Gardens functioned as a protected vantage point for women, providing them with a new language and authority to negotiate between domestic space and the larger world. Although this more expansive form of domesticity still highlighted the virtues associated with the feminized home, it also promised a wider field of action, re-centering domesticity outward.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 338 pages
  • 170 x 244 x 21mm | 740g
  • Cambridge, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 72 Halftones, unspecified
  • 0521768659
  • 9780521768658
  • 1,500,311

Table of contents

Introduction; Part I. Moral Order: The School of Nature: 1. 'In the home garden': moral tales for children; 2. The 'botanic eye': botany, miniature, and magnification; Part II. The Visual Frame: Constructing a View: 3. Picturing the 'home landscape': the nature of accomplishment; 4. Commanding a view: the Taylor sisters and the construction of domestic space; Part III. Personal Practice: Making Gardens Grow: 5. Dorothy Wordsworth: gardening, self-fashioning, and creation of home; 6. 'Work in a small compass': gardening manuals for women; Part IV. Narrative Strategies: Plotting the Garden: 7. 'Unbought pleasure': gardening in Coelebs in Search of a Wife and Mansfield Park; 8. Margaret Oliphant's Chronicles of Carlingford and the meaning of Victorian gardens; Epilogue.
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Review quote

'This volume will be useful to a wide range of readers. Scholars of the genre will delight in the richness of the textual references and use of illustrations to ground the discussions.' Romantic Circles 'This beautiful, extensively researched book confers order, clarity, and critical insight on the ubiquity of gardens in women's lives and creative work from 1780 to 1870 ... Seventy-two sumptuous illustrations complement the lucid and graceful writing ... Page and Smith's work provides scholars a most inviting and thought-provoking resource to explore.' Mary Ellen Bellanca, Victorian Studies 'Brady examines both the history of the concept and more contemporary re-appropriations of the term. Her two chapters on the Kantian understanding of sublimity are excellent, as is the final chapter on the environmental sublime. This book deserves to be regularly included in courses on aesthetics.' R. E. Kraft, Choice
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About Judith W. Page

Judith W. Page is Professor of English and Waldo W. Neikirk Term Professor of Arts and Sciences at the University of Florida, where she also serves as Interim Director of the Center for Women's Studies and Gender Research. Elise L. Smith is Professor of Art History and Sanderson Chair in Arts and Sciences at Millsaps College, Mississippi.
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