Session Title

The Idea of the Garden in Medieval Literature

Sponsoring Organization(s)

Medieval Studies Institute, Indiana Univ.-Bloomington

Organizer Name

Shannon Gayk

Organizer Affiliation

Indiana Univ.-Bloomington

Presider Name

Shannon Gayk

Paper Title 1

Paradise Not Lost or Longed-For: The Phoenix's Garden as Heaven's Earth

Presenter 1 Name

Evelyn Reynolds

Presenter 1 Affiliation

Indiana Univ.-Bloomington

Paper Title 2

An Apology for Medicine in Walahfrid Strabo's De cultura hortorum

Presenter 2 Name

Jared Johnson

Presenter 2 Affiliation

Centre for Medieval Studies, Univ. of Toronto

Paper Title 3

On the Prettiness of Flowers, or, Ornamentation in the Medieval Garden

Presenter 3 Name

Isabel Stern

Presenter 3 Affiliation

Rutgers Univ.

Paper Title 4

Response

Presenter 4 Name

Lynn Staley

Presenter 4 Affiliation

Colgate Univ.

Start Date

13-5-2017 3:30 PM

Session Location

Valley I Shilling Lounge

Description

From Eden and the ancient gardens of the gods to the walled pleasure gardens of medieval romance, and from the description of early collections of texts as “florilegia” to the garden-like womb of the virgin, the literary landscapes of medieval Europe are filled with gardens. To imagine a garden in early literature was both to evoke a lost or longed-for paradise and to emphasize the aesthetic and generative potential of human cultivation of nature. Early thinking about gardens, not unlike that of more recent garden studies, emphasized a union between nature and art, between human mastery, creativity, and ecological process. Gardens were seen not only as spaces of cultivation and conservation, but also of collaboration between human beings and the non-human world. This panel will encourage conversation about these botanical environments and processes, surveying some of the types of gardens that fill the landscapes of medieval Europe – real, allegorical, spiritual, historical – and reflecting on how representations of early gardens invite their readers to consider larger issues of cultivation, conservation, composition, and collaboration. Medieval studies have played an increasingly important role in ecocritical approaches to literature, but most of these studies have shown special interest in landscapes that lie, or were thought to lie, outside of human culture and cultivation, such as seas and wilderness. Gardens have been largely neglected in these conversations precisely because they are, or have seemed to be, paradigmatic examples of human mastery over nature. Thus, one of the central aims of this panel will be to reevaluate what the study of early literary gardens might contribute to larger conversations about ecology and about the human relationship to, dominion over, or management of the non-human world.

Shannon N. Gayk

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May 13th, 3:30 PM

The Idea of the Garden in Medieval Literature

Valley I Shilling Lounge

From Eden and the ancient gardens of the gods to the walled pleasure gardens of medieval romance, and from the description of early collections of texts as “florilegia” to the garden-like womb of the virgin, the literary landscapes of medieval Europe are filled with gardens. To imagine a garden in early literature was both to evoke a lost or longed-for paradise and to emphasize the aesthetic and generative potential of human cultivation of nature. Early thinking about gardens, not unlike that of more recent garden studies, emphasized a union between nature and art, between human mastery, creativity, and ecological process. Gardens were seen not only as spaces of cultivation and conservation, but also of collaboration between human beings and the non-human world. This panel will encourage conversation about these botanical environments and processes, surveying some of the types of gardens that fill the landscapes of medieval Europe – real, allegorical, spiritual, historical – and reflecting on how representations of early gardens invite their readers to consider larger issues of cultivation, conservation, composition, and collaboration. Medieval studies have played an increasingly important role in ecocritical approaches to literature, but most of these studies have shown special interest in landscapes that lie, or were thought to lie, outside of human culture and cultivation, such as seas and wilderness. Gardens have been largely neglected in these conversations precisely because they are, or have seemed to be, paradigmatic examples of human mastery over nature. Thus, one of the central aims of this panel will be to reevaluate what the study of early literary gardens might contribute to larger conversations about ecology and about the human relationship to, dominion over, or management of the non-human world.

Shannon N. Gayk