Unnatural Horizons: Paradox and Contradiction in Landscape Architecture

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Princeton Architectural Press, 1998 - Architecture - 175 pages
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Unnatural Horizons presents a selective history of the last five centuries of landscape architecture at the intersection of poetics and science, rhetoric and technology, and philosophy and politics. It investigates the relations between garden aesthetics and metaphysics, discussing issues similar to those raised by Weiss's critically acclaimed Mirrors of Infinity. The Western garden has always served as a setting for music, dance, theater, sculpture, and architecture, as well as the minor arts of meditative contemplation and erotic seduction. The history of landscape architecture is therefore inextricable from the histories of the other arts, and must be studied from an interdisciplinary and polycultural point of view. Some of the topics included in this book are the influence of neo-Platonic philosophy on the Italian Renaissance garden, erotic fantasies and the 18th-century libertine garden, the contrast between Thoreau's romantic notion of virgin nature and changes in perception due to increasing speed and mechanization, and the limits of landscape architecture as art form in 20th-century gardens.
 

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Contents

Syncretism and Style
9
Dematerialization and Iconoclasm
45
The Libidinal Sublime
65
New England Trantcendentalism and
85
i08 In Praise of Anachronism
109
i55 Notes
156
i7i Bibliography
172
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About the author (1998)

Allen S. Weiss teaches in the Departments of Performance Studies and Cinema Studies at New York University, and is author and editor of over twenty books including Phantasmic Radio (1995).

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