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The Poetics of Gardens Hardcover – November 17, 1988


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 257 pages
  • Publisher: The MIT Press (November 17, 1988)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0262132311
  • ISBN-13: 978-0262132312
  • Product Dimensions: 7.9 x 0.6 x 9.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,783,763 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

An ambitious and highly idiosyncratic work, this offers an invaluable bird's- and worm's-eye view of gardensaround the world and over the span of human historyas highly-wrought artifacts and everyday dwelling-places. With erudition and uncommon imagination, the authors consider the history and anthropology of gardens, their evolving esthetic principles, their architecture, their place in philosophy and literature, and the purposes they have served in religion, deftly compressing encyclopedic findings in urbane prose. They discuss the raw materials of garden sites, provide a "catalogue of compositional strategies" for gardeners, define types of gardens in terms of form and function, offer a sweeping survey of cultivated landscapesfrom ancient Rome's to Walt Disney'sand conclude by summoning a pantheon of illustrious gardeners, thinkers and outspoken bystanders (Vita Sackville-West, Lucian, Frank Lloyd Wright, King Kong) to discuss, in a perceptive and madcap fantasy colloquy, some practical problems of design facing contemporary American gardeners. Moore, Mitchell and Turnbull view gardens as "rhetorical landscapes" to be "read for content"; to them, "A garden path can become the thread of a plot" that leads us to the heart of a culture when the garden's "devices of structure and figure and trope" are analyzed. Yet their richly illustrated book is also a spirited travel guide, evoking the "garden palace" of the Alhambra and the "anorexic palm trees of Beverly Hills, poking at a smog-bruised sky." They appraise horticultural marvels, but also those of civilization at large. Theirs is an exhilarating sourcebook, an exemplary refuge for the restless gardener's imaginationone to savor and ponder as an essential on the shelf. Moore is O'Neil Ford Professor of Architecture at the University of Texas at Austin; Mitchell is a professor of architecture at Harvard; and Turnbull is a founder of William Turnbull Associates, San Francisco, an architectural firm.
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Review

"Here at last is a book destined to restore a more affectionate and personal relationship with the garden. Charmingly written, profusely illustrated, this handsome book introduces the reader to the beauty and wide variety of gardens - from the landscape designs of ancient China and India to those of Capability Brown and Walt Disney and the modem American suburban homeowner." John B. Jackson , landscape historian



"The authors begin by establishing some basic principles of gardening, then go on to discuss 20 gardens from places as diverse as ancient Rome to Walt Disney's Magic Kingdom.... A provocative, challenging work." Washington Post



"The book is theoretical, challenging, and a literary delight. That three architects, two of them professors, could have produced a book so felicitously written, and without a single footnote, astonishes me. Their breadth of teaming is dazzling. The subtlety and clarity of their insights fill me with admiration." Christopher Reed , Horticulture

--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By María Díaz on September 26, 2004
Format: Paperback
This book impressed me with the amount of information on garden design, styles and history it has. No, it is not a coffee table book with pretty pictures, but a serious study on the history of garden design. The pictures in it are black-and-white, as well as all diagrams and plans. It is an excellent reference book for students of landscape design and garden lovers alike!!!
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 14, 2002
Format: Paperback
It's really about experiencing and analyzing the spacial environment. Well written & illustrated. I've used it as a supplemental text in a history of L.A. course, & students have found it really valuable. I've just plain enjoyed it.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 28, 2000
Format: Paperback
Good examples of different aspects of the landscape. Explains different types of gardens well. It was an assigned book for a class, which made me not want to read it, but I'm glad that I did. Well written with good diagrams.
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By Roger Cox on November 20, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Reminds me of the old Whole Earth Catalog, with interesting lists and discussions of elements and examples of garden design. Youngsters might see it as a paper version of a well-moderated blog that posts content-rich lists and travelogues on a given theme, here the theme is garden design. Not a lot of reverie, but then again it *is* published by MIT press...maybe this is as poetic as MIT gets (Cornell engineering alum here).
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful By santa on January 21, 2005
Format: Paperback
This is a book full of the breath of life. Like the great gardens described, it can be appreciated in many ways. At once a collection and a pilgrimage, combining East and West, always with a touch of humor, it makes you feel the joy of being alive!
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