|Gardens of the Villa medicea della Castello|
The Weekend Financial Review magazine has an extract from the first chapter, entitled 'In the philosopher's garden'. It features Aristotle, and reveals the philosophical value of gardens. A sample:
The garden is not simply a retreat or source of physical exercise. It is intellectually stimulating in its own right, because it is a fusion of two fundamental philosophical principles: humanity and nature.
This is suggested by the word itself, and its cognates in German and the Romance languages: Garten, jardin, giardino. Like the English “yard”, they refer to enclosure, which requires two things: something cordoned off (nature), and someone to do the cordoning (humanity).
Beginning with sacred groves like the Lyceum, every garden is a union of this kind: nature separated, bordered, transformed by humans.
Nikki Gemmell, Australian columnist and author of Honestly, discusses Philosophy in the Garden in a stunning essay in today's Weekend Australian magazine. Delicious prose. A sample:
Just as you can glean an insight into a person's psyche, in all its ugliness or beauty, in an unguarded moment with a dog, a person's attitude to a garden is like a door flying open into who they really are.
In his new book Philosophy in the Garden, Damon Young looks at 11 writers and their response to tamed nature. And so the author of Emma or 1984 or A La Recherche du Temps Perdu is flared beautifully into being through their communion with the earth and its riches. It's a book you devour with your head nodding, because there's a humbling humanity in the relationship between those titans of the written word and their little plots of green.
And novelist Charlotte Wood has included my book in her 'Year in books', for The Age and Sydney Morning Herald. (Thank you, Charlotte.)
Quite a start to the weekend. (Must be about time to mow the lawn.)