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