New Book | Green Retreats

Posted in books by Editor on May 29, 2013

From Cambridge UP:

Stephen Bending, Green Retreats: Women, Gardens and Eighteenth-Century Culture (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2012), 319 pages, ISBN: 978-1107040021, $40.

xlWomen, Gardens and Eighteenth-Century Culture explores the world of eighteenth-century aristocratic women and the gardens they created, inhabited, visited, and imagined. It examines both the physical spaces created by women and the role of the garden (physical and imagined) in relation to female sociability, scandal, high politics, piety, the erotic, and the powerful but contradictory language of retirement with which women in the country were confronted. Combining a survey of cultural representations of the woman in the garden with case studies of four major women gardeners, it offers comprehensive readings of letters, journals and diaries, novels, poetry and physical landscape to demonstrate the complex cultural negotiations and manipulations women undertook when they gardened on a large scale. Detailed case studies include Elizabeth Montagu and the Bluestocking circle, the gardening neighbours Lady Caroline Holland and Lady Mary Coke, and the scandalous retirement of Henrietta Knight, Lady Luxborough.


Part I:
1. ‘Gladly I leave the town’: Retirement
2. ‘No way qualified for retirement’: Disgrace
Part II:
3. Bluestocking Gardens: Elizabeth Montagu at Sandleford
4. Neighbours in Retreat: Lady Mary Coke and the Hollands
5. ‘Can you not forgive?’ Henrietta Knight at Barrells Hall
6. ‘Though very retired, I am very happy’

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