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Nature Displaced, Nature Displayed: Order and Beauty in Botanical Gardens

By: Nuala C Johnson

267 pages, 28 b/w illus

IB Tauris

Hardback | Jun 2011 | #187628 | ISBN-13: 9781848857124
Availability: Usually dispatched within 6 days Details
NHBS Price: £59.50 $78/€68 approx

About this book

From their origins in the Renaissance to their apogee in the nineteenth century, botanical gardens brought together in a single space the great diversity of the earth's flora. They displaced nature from forest, foothill and countryside and rearranged it in their enclosed spaces to reveal something of the scientific principles underpinning the apparent chaos of the wild. Nature was tamed in order to divulge its hidden secrets and re-displayed in a fashion which heightened a sense of curiosity and wonderment but reassured that order could be disclosed.

Nuala Johnson's engaging study explores three botanical gardens - the University of Cambridge botanical garden, the Royal Dublin Society botanical garden, and the Belfast botanical garden - to show how the presentation and display of such gardens was influenced by place and how aesthetics, science, entertainment and ideas of empire all played important roles in the final outcome. The result is an outstanding work of scholarship that says much about the spatiality of scientific knowledge and embraces many of the key themes in contemporary historical geography.

'Nuala Johnson's masterful ethnography of three sites where the canons of science and aesthetics are refracted and blurred demonstrates why a geographical imagination matters. This is comparative history at its best.' - James S. Duncan, University of Cambridge

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Nuala C. Johnson is Reader in Human Geography at the School of Geography, Archaeology and Palaeoecology, Queen's University Belfast. Her previous books include 'Ireland, the Great War and the Geography of Remembrance' (2003) and, as co-editor, 'Companion to Cultural Geography' (2004) and 'Culture and Society' (2008).

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