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Why did Marcel Proust have bonsai beside his bed? What was Jane Austen doing, coveting an apricot? How was Friedrich Nietzsche inspired by his ‘thought tree’?
In Philosophy in the Garden, Damon Young explores one of literature’s most intimate relationships: authors and their gardens. For some, the garden provided a retreat from workaday labour; for others, solitude’s quiet counsel. For all, it played a philosophical role: giving their ideas a new life.
Philosophy in the Garden reveals the profound thoughts discovered in parks, backyards and pot-plants. It does not provide tips for mowing overgrown cooch grass, or mulching a dry Japanese maple. It is a philosophical companion to the garden’s labours and joys.
Philosophy in the Garden will be published in the UK as Writers in the Garden, by Rider, an imprint of Random House. Out in spring 2014
Praise for Philosophy in the Garden:
"Young is an engaging writer. His technique is fluent and stylish and never marred by cliches or cliched thinking. He is sincere, a great relief from the ocean of irony in which we live, and intellectually questing, a relief from that other ocean of schmaltzy platitude." - The Australian
"Reading this book is like strolling in a luxuriant garden with an erudite friend, although one of a literary rather than horticultural bent.... Think of this engaging little book...as a philosophical primer, an approachable introduction to ideas about gardens and the natural world..." - The Age/Sydney Morning Herald
"Philosophy in the Garden is a stimulating read where individual truths may well bloom.... [T]his volume is packed with brilliant literary info." - The West Australian
"This is a gardening book that takes readers not on a walk around great estates but on a tour of great minds. ... It's a lovely extension on the notion that gardens make you contemplative and in working with the soil you see life's big picture." - The Daily Telegraph/Courier Mail
"Young helps readers reflect on the value of the garden beyond a place to hold a backyard barbecue.... [He] writes engagingly, showing off his skills as a storyteller... [A]n intriguing little book..." - Weekly Times
"Young has managed the difficult task of creating an academically rigorous work while maintaining a light and engaging tone throughout the book, which is actually a highly intellectual look at the complex relationship between humanity and nature." - Voice
"[W]ith his vivid, critical, and, sometimes loving, attention to detail, he brings to new life writers and philosophers that anyone with a liberal arts education thought they already knew.... Young's enthusiasm, compassion, and moments of personal insight are infectious." - Island
"Philosophy in the Garden is... a thoughtful invitation to a wide readership to drink from a philosophical cup.... Young’s brew is beautifully blended, revealing from its first sip a light, rich texture and a caffeinated tingle of ideas." - Newtown Review of Books
"Young's book is elegantly written, with an endearing whimsical touch." - Towoomba Chronicle
"An absolute joy of a book--I couldn't put it down. Its prose is as careful and lovely as a beautifully tended garden." - Nikki Gemmell, columnist for The Australian and author of Honestly.
"I've been looking forward to Damon Young's Philosophy in the Garden...all year. Part philosophy lesson, part literary companion, it's a contemplative stroll through writers' relationships with their gardens..." - Charlotte Wood, author of Animal People and Love and Hunger
"This beautiful looking book is a wonderfully refreshing mix of literary gossip, historical exposition and philosophical reflection, and I never wanted it to end." - Walter Mason, author of Destination Saigon.