Review: Lee, The German 'Mittelweg': Garden theory and philosophy in the time of Kant [Book Review]

Journal of the History of Philosophy 47 (3):pp. 476-477 (2009)
Kant's dismissive reference in the Critique of Judgment to landscape gardening as "nothing but the ornamentation of the ground" is puzzling since, as an art that seems like a product of nature, the garden should be a paradigm case of fine art. Additionally, it runs counter to a growing academic interest in garden theory in the late 1700s, as Michael Lee documents in this often overwrought but useful volume. After Kant, German academic philosophy was bedevilled by irresolvable oppositions between reason and sensibility, and art and nature, that demanded mediation. This was paralleled by the efforts of German garden theorists to find a Mittelweg between the formal French-style and the irregular English garden. After a historical consideration of the rise of garden theory in the German academies in chapter 2, Lee explores the neglected philosophical importance of the garden, especially for K. H. Heydenreich and F. C. S. Schiller , and then considers Kant's critical philosophy in light of these analyses
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DOI 10.1353/hph.0.0135
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