Thursday, February 5, 2009

Gender Implications in the history of The Garden

"Women seem not to have reacted against the land with violence not simply because they never dreamed of it as an object of sexual conquest, nor simply because they had evaded the frustrations of irreconcilable desires. They had, in addition, taken on a set of images that limited the very contexts of imaginative possibility. Thus, women avoided male anguish at lost Edens and male guilt in the face of the raping of the continent by confining themselves, instead, to the "innocent . . . amusement" of a garden's narrow space."

Kolodny, Annette. The Land Before Her: Fantasy and Experience of the American Frontiers, 1630-1860.

The Land Before Her examines the ways in which women reacted to male fantasies about the “frontier.” Frontier representations in Fredric Jackson Turner’s and others’ imaginations rely on images of paradise and femininity. Paradise, in other words, becomes a sexualized term, such as "Paradise with all her Virgin beauties" and the frontier is a "bride" that offers "sweet embraces." These representations deprive women any ownership of dominant frontier myths. Without access to these dominant frontier myths, women constructed their own mythology in part through the planting of gardens; a means of taming the wilderness. Kolodny examination then attempts to fill in the gaps of Turner’s “frontier” thesis with women’s perspectives and confronts what she sees as Turner’s over reliance upon mythology rather than history 

[L. McReynolds]

Pushing onward with research of the Garden-- it's social history and implications and how these relate to the in-between spaces of a city where nature slowly but surely pushes up through the cracks to break through industrially imposed order-- in hopes that filling my subconsciousness with this information will cause it to eventually manifest in some obvious yet creative way that I can relate to my work.

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