Richard Aitken: The Garden of Ideas

‘Mower is less’

Luke Morgan

 

The Garden of Ideas: Four Centuries of Australian Style
by Richard Aitken
Miegunyah Press, $64.99 hb, 255 pp, 9780522857504

 

When Bouvard and Pécuchet suddenly become enamoured of landscape design in Flaubert’s novel of 1881, and decide to remodel their own garden, they are bewildered by the ‘infinity of styles’ that are available to them. After much deliberation and research, they decide to install an Etruscan tomb with an inscription, a Rialto, a Chinese pagoda, a mount, and topiary in the shape of peacocks, stags, pyramids, and armchairs. Despite these ‘improvements’, however, when Bouvard and Pécuchet proudly unveil the garden for the first time at dinner, their guests fail to respond as they had hoped; that is, according to predetermined categories of response, which include the Melancholy or Romantic, the Exotic, the Pensive, the Mysterious, and the Fantastic.

Read the rest of this article by purchasing a subscription to ABR Online, or subscribe to the print edition to receive access to ABR Online free of charge.

If you are a single issue subscriber you will need to upgrade your subscription to view back issues.

If you are already subscribed, click here to log in.

Published in March 2011 no. 329

Leave a comment

Please note that all comments must be approved by ABR and comply with our Terms & Conditions.

NB: If you are an ABR Online subscriber or contributor, you will need to login to ABR Online in order to post a comment. If you have forgotten your login details, or if you receive an error message when trying to submit your comment, please email your comment (and the name of the article to which it relates) to comments@australianbookreview.com.au. We will review your comment and, subject to approval, we will post it under your name.