On Other Grounds

Landscape Gardening and Nationalism in Eighteenth-Century England and France

By Brigitte Weltman-Aron

Subjects: British Studies
Series: SUNY series, The Margins of Literature
Paperback : 9780791448069, 200 pages, December 2000
Hardcover : 9780791448052, 200 pages, December 2000

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Table of contents


Introduction: The Seeds of Discord

1. Natural Nature
Transitions or Simultaneity: A Political and Philosophical Question
Problematizing "Transitions": Landscape Gardening
Classicism in Quotation Marks: An Iteration
Transitions: A Return
The French against the French Style
What Makes Nature Natural
The Exemplarity of Water
Repeating the English: A Rhetorical Graft

2. National Nature
English Resistances to the French
French Reactions: Defending Le Notre
French Reactions: Against Le Notre and the English Style
Deferring the "Point of Perfection": The New French Garden (Natural Gardens)
Nationalism in Gardens
Nature as Liberty in English Treatises
Nature as Liberty in French Treatises

3. Trade Winds
European Colonialism: Raynal's Histoire des deux Indes
Canada and Guiana in Raynal's Histoire des deux Indes
Communication: Alterity in Raynal
Communication: Diderot's Savages and Civilized
Communication: Of the Deaf-Mute

4. Philosophical Gardens
Colonizing Space
Descartes and Locke
Repetition and Displacement: Condillac
Condillacian Effects: Attention
Condillacian Effects: Imagination, Memory, Reminiscence
Philosophical Gardens

Conclusion: The Future of the Garden/The Garden of the Future
The Garden in Movement in the History of Landscape Gardening
The Andre Citroen Park: "Sharing the Signature"
Garden without Man




Examines eighteenth-century French and English landscape gardens as representations of nationalist expression.


On Other Grounds addresses the broader impacts of the English landscape movement on French gardening during the latter half of the eighteenth century. Through readings of the relevant texts of major authors of the period—including Voltaire, Newton, Rousseau, Condillac, Descartes, Diderot, Walpole, and Locke—the author demonstrates the links between landscape gardening, the formation of national identity, and nationalism in England and France. Themes that are central to Enlightenment studies are explored, including theories of nature, the picturesque, sensibility, the rise of nationalism, and colonialism.

Brigitte Weltman-Aron is Assistant Professor of French at The University of Memphis.


"Eighteenth-century scholars have long recognized the importance of gardens in the development of the century's sensibility. Weltman-Aron's contribution to this important issue is considerable. Many of the primary texts she examines have not been treated in such detail, and the parallels she draws between philosophical, political, and aesthetic texts of the period are highly original and instructive. This is a valuable and highly thoughtful work of careful and informed scholarship that makes key contributions to our understanding of eighteenth-century thought and culture." — Ronald Bogue, University of Georgia

"Stylish, rigorous, and witty. If only there were more adventurous studies of this kind, and so well written—a significant intervention in the consideration of nationalism as well as an equally significant departure from conventional approaches to the subject." — Julian Wolfreys, author of Being English: Narratives, Idioms, and Performances of National Identity from Coleridge to Trollope