Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation
Wiggins, Osborne P.
Freedom; Desert de Retz; French Enlightenment; Picturesque garden
Liberty--Philosophy; Enlightenment--France; De´sert de Retz (Chambourcy, France); Gardens, English--France--Chambourcy
Freedom is a critical concept that helps shape the discourse of modern society and corresponding thoughts about people's private, public, cultural and spiritual lives. Standing at the fountainhead of the modern era, the Enlightenment was a critical period when this concept was defined, analyzed and debated in modern terminology with modern questions directed at modern problems. However, despite its importance, scholars in the twentieth century have disagreed about what to make of the Enlightenment liberal tradition. What was not fully discussed were the cultural sentiments and artistic expressions that interacted with the intellectual and political domains. To complement this, this dissertation examines a French picturesque garden which is a typical manifestation of the social and cultural spirits of middle French Enlightenment, and which facilitates understanding of the connotations and features of the concept of freedom. The dissertation adopts a three-layered structure: analysis of the garden, the cultural ideas reflected in the garden, and the concept of freedom constructed in this cultural background. Each layer is based on findings from the previous one, and elevates the discussion on the garden to the cultural and then the political levels. Specifically, the first two chapters are preparatory chapters that provide background information about the garden and the cultural trends at the time under discussion. Chapter I introduces the garden, its owner and his social circle. Chapter II examines the cultural background by way of a discussion of the competing ideas of aesthetics. Each of the next three chapters is devoted to one outstanding feature observed from the garden that bears a critical relationship to the concept of freedom. Chapter III deals with the epistemological and teleological dimensions of the passion for nature in its natural form. Chapter IV discusses the urge to embrace "all times and places". Chapter V takes up the representation of "otherness" and its implication for the concept of freedom. Chapter VI concludes the dissertation.
Jia, Ning 1977-, "Freedom in middle French Enlightenment : interpreted through a picturesque garden." (2010). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. Paper 687.