Vertuall Paradise: Vision and Practice in the Poems, Books, and Gardens of Early Modern England

Eager, Claire, English - Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, University of Virginia
Fowler, Elizabeth, Department of English, University of Virginia

"Vertuall Paradise" examines aesthetic and ethical relationships among crafting visions of paradise in Tudor and Stuart literature and allied cultural practices of printing books of illustrated poetry, designing iconographical programs for gardens of the elite, and publishing garden and husbandry manuals aimed at wider audiences. I analyze the poetic, print, and illustration techniques that build paradisal landscape settings; observe actions possible within them; and elucidate social or moral judgments implied through these most originary of imaginary spaces. These paradisal spaces are “virtual” in three ways: poets build them in readers’ imaginations; tantalizingly close, they are practically perfect yet inevitably flawed, posing near-miss situations in which speakers cannot access their promised pleasures; they are designed to produce poetic or moral virtue. In my study, these virtual spaces and their material analogues carry implications for our contemporary relationships with—and desires to control—our natural, architectural, and media environments.

PHD (Doctor of Philosophy)
poetry, paradise, landscape, print, garden, illustration
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