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The garden in Victorian literature

Waters, Michael David (1985) The garden in Victorian literature. Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) thesis, University of Kent. (doi:10.22024/UniKent/01.02.94720) (KAR id:94720)

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Abstract

As subject, setting and signifying landscape, the garden figures prominently in Victorian imaginative literature. Through their de­scriptions of and comments upon gardens, imaginative writers prof­fered ideas of what a garden is or ought to be, and heightened the garden-consciousness of their garden-minded readers. At the broad­est level, the presentation of the garden in imaginative literature reflects the stylistic diversity of contemporary horticultural practices, though certain styles and features are consistently pri­vileged. In addition, gardens tended by their owners are in general preferred to those >maintained by paid professionals. The fact that many Victorian novels are domestic novels helps to account for the prominence of gardens within them. Many fictional scenes have garden settings, and the garden is in many ways associated with the concept of home and the middle-class idolisation of domestic values. Moreover, imaginative writers played a part in scripting the garden as a social arena by defining the activities appropriate to parti­cular features of it. They contributed also to the mediation, con­struction and promulgation of garden-related codes. Gardens fre­quently function as texts expressive of the personalities, attitudes and values of their owners, and fictional characters are defined in terms of their attitudes towards gardens. As a rule, only sympa­thetically presented characters cherish gardens for their own sakes. Through their persistent identification of women with flowers and gardens, imaginative writers played a part in beautifying and nat­uralising the domestic and ornamental roles of women. The signi­ficance of the garden in Victorian imaginative literature has also to be understood in terms of its complex and variable relations with nature and with non-garden landscapes such as mountains and cities. Finally, the garden is important also as an internal(ised) landscape used to articulate a range of intrapersonal and subjec­tive experiences and concerns.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctor of Philosophy (PhD))
Thesis advisor: Andrews, Malcolm
DOI/Identification number: 10.22024/UniKent/01.02.94720
Additional information: This thesis has been digitised by EThOS, the British Library digitisation service, for purposes of preservation and dissemination. It was uploaded to KAR on 25 April 2022 in order to hold its content and record within University of Kent systems. It is available Open Access using a Creative Commons Attribution, Non-commercial, No Derivatives (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/) licence so that the thesis and its author, can benefit from opportunities for increased readership and citation. This was done in line with University of Kent policies (https://www.kent.ac.uk/is/strategy/docs/Kent%20Open%20Access%20policy.pdf). If you feel that your rights are compromised by open access to this thesis, or if you would like more information about its availability, please contact us at ResearchSupport@kent.ac.uk and we will seriously consider your claim under the terms of our Take-Down Policy (https://www.kent.ac.uk/is/regulations/library/kar-take-down-policy.html).
Uncontrolled keywords: Literature
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General)
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Arts and Humanities > School of English
SWORD Depositor: SWORD Copy
Depositing User: SWORD Copy
Date Deposited: 25 Aug 2022 13:30 UTC
Last Modified: 25 Aug 2022 13:31 UTC
Resource URI: https://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/94720 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

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