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The Medieval and Early Modern Garden: Enclosure and Transformation

The Medieval and Early Modern Garden: Enclosure and Transformation

The Enclosed Garden: Pleasure, Contemplation and Cure in the Hortus Conclusus 1100-1450 is a new project at Swansea University which focuses on the medieval hortus conclusus [enclosed garden] between 1100 and 1450, as it manifested itself within a number of contexts: literary, historical, theological, physical and medicinal. Specifically it aims to:

  • examine the origins of the historical and literary framing of the enclosed garden and its functions in Jewish, Christian and Muslim contexts;
  • trace the striking correlation between the myriad plants and spices populating the biblical Song ofSongs, those described in treatises on the garden, and those in medical texts as cures for ailments of the womb and other specifically female disorders;
  • challenge the notion of separate traditions for medieval understandings of the enclosed gardenby scrutinizing the overlooked interstices and overlaps between these traditions;
  • determine the extent to which the medieval garden was a gendered space and assess the role played by such a gendered understanding with medieval society and culture.

Professor Liz McAvoy, Head of the Department of English Language and Literature at Swansea University, is the Principal Investigator on this 24-month Leverhulme Trust funded research project. Click here for more information about the project.

The project will be launched at the annual Symposium by the Sea at the Centre for Medieval and Early Modern Research (MEMO) at Swansea University. More information about the Symposium can be found here.