Axel Goodbody, Emeritus Professor of German and European Culture at the University of Bath, UK, will speak in our Greenhouse lecture series on Thursday, 5 March 2020, 13:00-14:30 in Hulda Garborgs hus room N-105. His talk is titled “Gardening the Planet: Reading Literary Gardens through the Lens of Garden Writing in the Anthropocene”.

The lecture will be followed by the Greenhouse Seed Exchange! Bring seeds for the garden that you can share with others–green plants, flowers, veggies, and fruits are all welcome. Small bags will be available to take some seeds home.

Abstract of the lecture:

In the first part of this talk I consider some of the thinking on gardening as a model for sustainable interaction with the natural environment which has come to replace the wilderness paradigm since the 1990s. This includes Michael Pollan’s argument that gardening should be an exercise in human co-existence with nature, rooted in an ethic of partnership and care, leading to individual wellbeing while increasing the diversity and abundance of life; Gilles Clément’s concepts of the ‘planetary garden’ and the ‘garden in movement’, and Emma Marris’s call for a redirection of conservation efforts to practices promoting natural resilience, in the ‘rambunctious garden’. In the second part, I ask to what extent such ideas have been anticipated in depictions of gardens in literary fiction and are reflected in them today. Reference points from the eighteenth, mid-nineteenth, and early twenty-first century are Rousseau’s Julie, or the New Heloise, Adalbert Stifter’s Indian Summer, and Jenny Erpenbeck’s Visitation. In my conclusion I reflect on the potential of garden writing, as a genre embracing fiction and nonfiction, to serve as a focus for ecocritical research in the Anthropocene, the age in which we must accept responsibility for managing the local and global environment, aesthetically as well as sustainably. 

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