The Garden as an Art

By Mara Miller

Subjects: Philosophy, Environmental Studies, Art, Architectural History/architecture, Aesthetics
Paperback : 9780791413784, 233 pages, July 1993
Hardcover : 9780791413777, 233 pages, July 1993

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Table of contents



Part I: What Is a Garden?

1. Definitions, Examples, and Paradigms

2. The General Unifying Principles Underlying the Construction and Appreciation of Gardens

3. Additional Aspects of Spatiality

Part II: The Garden as a Work of Art

4. Gardens and Current Theories of Art

5. Preference for Distance and Disinterest

6. Environmental Aesthetics and the Effects of Art

7. The Signifying Garden: Gardens as Art

Part III: The Garden as Great Art

8. Great Art: Significant Human Content: Theoretical Issues

9. Ideas in Art and Language

10. The Signifying Garden: Gardens and Language

11. Gardens as Great Art: The Presentation of Artistic Ideas

12. Conclusion



Index to Gardens

Name Index

Subject Index


In this book Miller challenges contemporary aesthetic theory to include gardens in an expanded definition of art. She provides a radical critique of three central tenets within current intellectual debate: first, the art historical notion that art should only be studied within the context of a single culture and period; second, the philosophical belief that art should be conceived as a discrete object unrelated to our survival as persons, as cultural communities, as a species; and third, the notion that all signifying systems are like language.

Mara Miller is a philosopher and art historian who writes on gardens and environmental aesthetics, Japanese and East Asian aesthetics and art history, and women and gender issues. She has lectured in China, England, France, Finland, Germany, Italy, Japan, and New Zealand, and her work has been published in Polish, Chinese, and Finnish. Also an artist, she has exhibited in Philadelphia and New York City, and her work is in collections throughout the United States.


"This is an excellent piece of work, well-organized, and convincingly argued. Miller is extremely well informed both about gardens and about aesthetics (an unusual combination). The book integrates fascinating examples into a thorough, closely reasoned discussion of the theoretical issues that gardens raise. " — Arnold Berleant, Long Island University

"Miller's is an extremely broad and competent treatment of gardens, East and West. Her grasp of Japanese culture is rare for any Western treatment, philosophical or otherwise, of gardens. " — Edmund Leites, Queens College of the City University of New York