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Martin Kevorkian, Chair CAL 226, Mailcode B5000, Austin, TX 78712 • 512-471-4991

Summer 2004

E s379M • Landscape and Eighteenth-Century Literature

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
84040 F


Course Description

The English garden of the eighteenth century was politically relevant, socially contentious, and ethically charged. The garden settings found in the literature of the period, therefore, must be “read” with an eye on the contemporary meanings attached to various forms of landscape architecture. This class combines close reading of Alexander Pope’s poems Epistle to Burlington (1731) and Epistle to Arbuthnot (1735) with visits to the classic gardens of Rousham House designed by William Kent in the 1730s and to Lord Burlington’s Chiswick villa and its palladian gardens. Next, our reading of Frances Burney’s novel Evelina (1778) will be enlivened and contextualized by visits to some of the so-called “pleasure gardens” of London, public parks which for the eighteenth-century reader embodied the dangers of social mingling and the temptations of urban living. Burney’s heroine visits, among other tantalizing public venues, St. James’s Park, Vauxhall, and Marylebone Gardens. We will juxtapose these loca amoena of London with the ribald garden, as embodied by Sir Francis Dashwood’s estate West Wycomb – where an “erotic” garden and its Temple to Venus reflect the designer’s rakish creed. We will round out our exploration of the landscape of the “long eighteenth century” with Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice (1813) and Mansfield Park (1816), novels featuring the mature Brownian landscapes of the late-century country estate. In imitation of some of the characters in these novels, we will tour the gardens of Blenheim, Stowe, Stourhead, Painshill, and—time allowing—Chatsworth. Throughout the term we will make liberal use of the collections of estate portraits and landscape paintings in the National and Tate Galleries, London, and the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford. With many 18th-century gardens still extant in Oxford’s environs, we will spend as much time as possible outdoors. It is therefore recommended that students familiarize themselves with the three novels prior to the program.

Grading Policy

Participation/attendance 20%
Journal/weekly reports 40%
2 essays 40%


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