Cover image for Theory of garden art
Theory of garden art
Hirschfeld, Christian Cajus Lorenz, 1742-1792.
Uniform Title:
Theorie der Gartenkunst. English
Publication Information:
Philadelphia : University of Pennsylvania Press, [2001]

Physical Description:
vii, 496 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm.
General Note:
"Originally published in five volumes, 1779-85 as Theorie der Gartenkunst by M.G. Weidmanns Erben und Reich, Leipzig"--T.p. verso.
Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
SB454.3.P45 H57 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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C.C.L. Hirschfeld was perhaps the most important writer on gardens and landscape in eighteenth-century Germany. Acclaimed as the "father of landscape garden art," he was influential not just in Germany but also in France, Hungary, Italy, the Netherlands, Scandinavia, and Russia. Popular with both experts and amateurs, Hirschfeld's writings had a significant effect on the development of European garden design, as well as on the establishment of public parks of his era. His celebration of the natural world sprang from his intellectual roots in Enlightened rationalism, but rather than following the systematic scientific strategy of his forerunners, Hirschfeld formulated a more popular approach that appealed to both the emotions and the reason of his audience. His five-volume Theory of Garden Art, published simultaneously in German and French between 1779 and 1785, is by far the most comprehensive of his works, and well-informed gardeners of the time considered it indispensable.

Although Hirschfeld's significance has increasingly been recognized in contemporary landscape scholarship, his works have not yet appeared in English. In this one-volume abridged edition Linda Parshall translates the essential aspects of the Theory of Garden Art, Hirschfeld's seminal work. The translation is accompanied by an introduction by Parshall, which analyzes Hirschfeld's place in the intellectual and cultural history of his time, and in the history of landscape design. This book will be a useful and authoritative contribution to both the history of landscape architecture and German cultural history.

Author Notes

Linda B. Parshall is Professor of German Literature at Portland State University.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

Originally published in five volumes (1779-85) as Theorio der Gartenkunst and now edited and translated by Parshall (German, Portland State Univ.), this volume belongs to the "Penn Studies in Landscape Architecture" series. First appearing in both German and French, the book was influential in Germany, France, Hungary, Italy, the Netherlands, Scandinavia, and Russia for both amateur and professional gardeners. Parshall abridged the five volumes to one and provided an excellent 52-page introduction discussing Herschfeld's life in detail and his writings. Oddly, his travels did not include England, considering the importance of that country's gardens in his writing. A professor of philosophy and aesthetics at the University of Kiel and later director of a fruit tree nursery in Dusternbrook, Hirschfeld reveals through his studies a concern with the aesthetic as well as the practical aspects of gardening. For the most part, his discussion is from a popular point of view. The great wealth of the 95 clearly reproduced illustrations (unfortunately without captions so that one must refer to the list at the end) shows the wide range of his knowledge and interest in landscapes, gardens, pavilions, and designs. Detailed notes; almost seamless abridgment of the original five volumes. Highly recommended. General readers; upper-division undergraduates through faculty. T. J. McCormick emeritus, Wheaton College (MA)