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The Once and Future Gardener: Garden Writing from the Golden Age of Magazines, 1900-1940

Overview

The first four decades of this century provided the average American not only with the best magazines ever published in this country, but also—in journal like House Beautiful, House and Garden, Ladies' Home Journal, and The Garden Magazine—our most distinguished garden writing. These early magazines were the first national medium of mass communication and had a formative influence on American culture. Many of their garden articles were by authors we recognize today as singularly enchanting and competent voices: ...
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Overview

The first four decades of this century provided the average American not only with the best magazines ever published in this country, but also—in journal like House Beautiful, House and Garden, Ladies' Home Journal, and The Garden Magazine—our most distinguished garden writing. These early magazines were the first national medium of mass communication and had a formative influence on American culture. Many of their garden articles were by authors we recognize today as singularly enchanting and competent voices: Louis Beebe Wilder, Grace Tabor, Fletcher Steele, Wilhelm Miller, and Mrs. Francis King. But some of the best were by amateur gardeners, skilled and articulate devotees who earned their livings as artists, drama critics, fiction writers, clergymen, architects, and dieticians. Virginia Clayton has selected over fifty of these marvels of garden prose and arranged them in chapters covering everything from "Wild Gardens" and "Formal Gardens" to "Gardening through the Seasons" and "The Philosophical Gardener." The book is enhanced with photographs from the articles themselves, including a color plate section reproducing sixteen glorious magazine covers.

This is not stuffy, historical reconstruction of lost horticultural America. These articles are still wonderfully fresh, pungent, and pertinent. They were written by people who had their hands in the dirt and plenty of practical experience. Moreover, the actual quality of the writing is uniformly excellent; these were men and women who knew how to construct a sentence as well as a perennial bed. Their gardening preoccupations and predilections were remarkably the same as our own, making this truly a book for the "once and future gardener," a delightful and authoritative reference work that no serious gardener, or gardener historian, should be without.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Clayton, associate curator of old master prints at the National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC, introduces this anthology with a succinct history of the literature of amateur gardening and of gardening in mainstream magazines. The 59 articles she has chosen from popular pre-World War II titles such as The House Beautiful and Country Life in America cover a broad range of topics. There are literary essays by well-known professionals as well as more practical ones by amateur gardeners whose advice is often still useful. The somewhat artificial organization is by chapters ranging from "A Year in the Garden" to "Formal, Italian Gardens and the Use of Architectural Features and Furnishings." Clayton provides capsule biographies of the authors and places each selection in its historical context. Reprints of the black-and-white illustrations, plus color plates of some of the magazine covers, add to the reader's pleasure. Recommended for large public and academic libraries.--Daniel Starr, Museum of Modern Art, New York Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781567921021
  • Publisher: Godine, David R. Publishers, Inc.
  • Publication date: 6/28/1999
  • Edition description: 1ST
  • Pages: 352
  • Product dimensions: 7.18 (w) x 10.40 (h) x 1.13 (d)

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