Gardens: An Essay on the Human Condition

The need for gardens.

On Art and Aesthetics

Gardens: An Essay on the Human Condition by Robert Pogue Harrison (2008, University of Chicago Press)

Anybody who has even cursorily browsed the greatest works of world literature will know that “gardens” occupy a singular status in the human imagination. Their repeated occurrence in tales across geographies and eras is not a coincidence but suggestive of something important and profound about our psychological and social situation. In his thoughtful and wide-ranging 2008 book Gardens: An Essay on the Human Condition, Robert Pogue Harrison, a professor of literature at Stanford University, examines gardens of all sorts – real and mythical, most mundane to most majestic – and sheds light on our relationship with them, telling us why do we need them and love them so.

Medusa by Caravaggio (1595), Wikipedia

Human beings, Harrison says in the beginning, are not ultimately made to look too intently at the head of Medusa [monster from Greek mythology], that…

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