Garden an essay on the human condition

An ancient parable has come down to us across the ages which speaks eloquently of the powerful hold that the goddess Cura has on human nature: It was a disposition without resistance, as the serpent quickly discovered upon his first attempt to get Eve to eat the forbidden fruit. Here Utnapishtim enjoys the fruits of his exceptional existence.

While she was meditating on what she had made, Jupiter came by. Gilgamesh succeeds in reaching that garden after a trying and desperate journey, only to be forced to return to the tragedies and cares of Uruk, his earthly city, for immortality is denied him.

We have a seemingly infinite capacity for misery. Here is how Homer describes the scene, which is prototypical of many subsequent such idyllic scenes in Western literature: When Dante reaches the Garden of Eden at the top of the mountain of Purgatory, he brings his full humanity with him into that recovered earthly paradise, having gained entrance to it by way of a laborious moral self-discipline that took him down through the circles of hell and up the reformatory terraces of Purgatory.

Review of the book “Gardens: An Essay on the Human Condition”

Yet never once during his journey does the poet-pilgrim lose or forfeit the human care in his heart. Nothing was at stake for Adam and Eve in the garden until suddenly, in one decisive moment of self-revelation, everything was at stake.

I have suggested—and Genesis invites that speculation—that it is far more likely that Eve was the one who secretly loathed the place and that it was the primal wife, rather than the husband, who found a way to get us expelled, putting humanity on the path to maturity. Nothing was at stake for Adam and Eve in the garden until suddenly, in one decisive moment of self-revelation, everything was at stake.

It has two principal heroes: As Yeats said of hearts: This text may be used and shared in accordance with the fair-use provisions of U.

Whether she actually got us out of Eden or whether she merely got God out of Eden, the result is effectively the same. Most of the book is wonderful, diverging into topics such as creativity, caretaking, education, and seeing. And yet I find myself completely besotted by a new book titlted Gardens: In the final analysis Eve is the mother of the story.

But why are we posing hypothetical questions to Meneleus when we can consult Odysseus directly? What distinguishes us in our humanity is the fact that we inhabit relatively permanent worlds that precede our birth and outlast our death, binding the generations together in a historical continuum.

Nor does his journey reach its endpoint in Eden, for it continues up through the celestial spheres toward some other more exalted garden: The question rather is whether the gift of the Garden of Eden—for Eden was a gift—was wasted on us prior to the price we paid through our expulsion.

The ancients, explains Harrison, viewed gardens as both a model and a location for the laborious self-cultivation and self-improvement that are essential to serenity and enlightenment, an association that has continued throughout the ages.

At the same time, we have a tendency to associate this putative curse with the earth, to see the earth as the matrix of pain, death, corruption, and tragedy rather than the matrix of life, growth, appearance, and form.

Care burdens us with many indignities. While labor secures our survival, work builds the worlds that make us historical. After his exile, he was there for all things, for it was only by dedicating himself that he could render humanly inhabitable an environment that did not exist for his pleasure and that exacted from him his daily labor.

It was a disposition without resistance, as the serpent quickly discovered upon his first attempt to get Eve to eat the forbidden fruit. We have a seemingly infinite capacity for misery.

Harrison draws freely and with brilliance from 5, years of Western literature and criticism, including works on philosophy and garden history.

The range of his perspective on the human myth suggests that he may be our Bachelard. Care asked him to give it spirit, and this he gladly granted.

Such a magical garden needs no intervention of any kind. Adam and Eve were not ready—they lacked the maturity—to become keepers of the garden.Gardens: an essay on the human condition User Review - Not Available - Book Verdict.

Drawing from sources religious, literary and scholarly, Italian literature professor Harrison examines the human quest for happiness through centuries of gardens and gardeners, both real and fictional /5(2). Medusa by Caravaggio (), Wikipedia Gardens: An Essay on the Human Condition by Robert Pogue Harrison (, University of Chicago Press) Human beings, Harrison says in the beginning, are not ultimately made to look too intently at the head of Medusa [monster from Greek mythology], that is, at rage, death, and endless suffering.

Gardens: An Essay on the Human Condition - Kindle edition by Robert Pogue Harrison. Download it once and read it on your Kindle device, PC, phones or tablets. Use features like bookmarks, note taking and highlighting while reading Gardens: An Essay on the Human dfaduke.coms: "Gardening, to me, is foreign soil And yet I find myself completely besotted by a new book titlted Gardens: An Essay on the Human Condition, by Robert Pogue Harrison.

Gardens: An Essay on the Human Condition

The author is one of the very best cultural critics at work today. he is a man of deep learning, immense generosity of spirit, passionate curiosity and manifold rhetorical gifts. "I find myself completely besotted by a new book titled Gardens: An Essay on the Human Condition, by Robert Pogue Harrison.

The author is one of the very best cultural critics at work today. The author is one of the very best cultural critics at work today/5().

“ Gardens: an essay on the human condition ” is a book by Robert Pogue Harrison, a professor of literature at Stanford University, in the Department of French & Italian.

An essay rich in references and literary, philosophical and historical homages and quotes that make it difficult to be categorized.

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Garden an essay on the human condition
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