What was a "garden" in medieval and early modern British culture and how was it imagined? How did it change as Europe opened up to the wider world from the 16th century onwards? In a series of fresh approaches to these questions, the contributors offer chapters that identify and discuss newly-discovered pre-modern garden spaces in archaeology and archival sources, recognize a gendered language of the garden in fictional descriptions ("fictional" here being taken to mean any written text, regardless of its purpose), and offer new analysis of the uses to which gardens - real and imagined - might be put. Chapters investigate the definitions, forms and functions of physical gardens; explore how the material space of the garden was gendered as a secluded space for women, and as a place of recreation; examine the centrality of garden imagery in medieval Christian culture; and trace the development of garden motifs in the literary and artistic imagination to convey the sense of enclosure, transformation and release. The book uniquely underlines the current environmental "turn" in the humanities, and increasingly recognizes the value of exploring human interaction with the landscapes of the past as a route to health and well-being in the present.
Table of Contents
Part I: Theorizing the Garden
1. Introduction: The Garden at the Intersection of Pleasure, Contemplation and Cure
[Patricia Skinner and Theresa Tyers]
2. Gendered Spaces of Flourishing and the Medieval Hortus Conclusus
[Liz Herbert McAvoy]
Part II: The Historical Garden
3. Rills and Romance: Gardens at the Castles of Llywelyn ab Iorwerth and Edward I in Wales
[Spencer Gavin Smith]
4. A Delite for the Senses: Three Healing Plants in Medieval Gardens, the Lily, the Rose and the Woodland Strawberry
5. In Dock, Out Nettle: Negotiating Health Risks in the Early Modern Garden
Part III: The Imagined Garden
6. "To play bi an orchardside": Orchards as Enclosures of Queer Space in Lanval and Sir Orfeo
7. Dressing the Pleasure Garden: Creation, Recreation and Varieties of Pleasure in the Two Texts of the Norwich Grocers' Play
8. Political Gardens in Early Modern English Drama
Part IV: Gardens and Transformation
9. Horti Recidivi: The Restoration and Re-creation of Medieval Gardens in the 20th and 21st Centuries
10. Report on a Pilot Study of the Garden as a Place of Health and Well-being
Patricia Skinner holds a Personal Chair in History at Swansea University.
Theresa Tyers is Research Fellow at Swansea University.