Gardens in Literature: Looking Back from an Anthropocentric World
From the famous poem The Garden by Andrew Marvell, to that of Seamus Heaney’s Digging, gardens have been depicted as idyllic places, as in classical pastoral poetry and Renaissance poetry and symbolic of ideas about identity, the past and memory. In what is now suggested by the scientists as the appropriate term for the controversial last geological period, some starting it with The Industrial Revolution and some dating it as early as the Agricultural Revolution and the Neolithic Age, “the anthropocene”, the human outlook on gardens and nature as a whole has to be reassessed. The globally catastrophic threat of the immanent extinction of humans as a species loudly drawn attention to by Slavoj Zizek in his 2012 text Welcome to the Anthropocene, calls for a further repositioning of the human than the ecocritical approaches up to now. In this light the whole world can be seen as Eden, the ‘Garden of Bliss’ about to be lost by humans who have inextricably doomed themselves in capitalism. This paper will look at the depiction of gardens in various examples of literature such as the Epic of Gılgamesh, religious poems, Romantic Poetry, Bacon’s Essay on Gardens, Shakespeare’s plays and Lewis Carrol’s Alice in Wonderland within an anthropocentric framework.