Written as an advocacy of melancholy's value as part of landscape experience, this book situates the concept within landscape's aesthetic traditions, and reveals how it is a critical part of ethics and empathy. With a history that extends back to ancient times, melancholy has hovered at the edges of the appreciation of landscape, including the aesthetic exertions of the eighteenth-century. Implicated in the more formal categories of the Sublime and the Picturesque, melancholy captures the subtle condition of beautiful sadness.
The book proposes a range of conditions which are conducive to melancholy, and presents examples from each, including: The Void, The Uncanny, Silence, Shadows and Darkness, Aura, Liminality, Fragments, Leavings, Submersion, Weathering and Patina.
Vignette 1: Palladio Plans (John Hejduk), Part I: The Place of Melancholy, 1. Placing Melancholy in Landscape Architecture, 2. Defining Melancholy, 3. The Beautiful, the Sublime, the Picturesque ... and the Melancholy, 4. Aesthetics, 5. Emotion, 6. Ethics, 7. Empathy, Vignette 2: Objects and Apparitions - for Joseph Cornell (Octavio Paz), Part II: The Places of Melancholy, 8. The Places of Melancholy, 9. The Void, 10. The Uncanny, 11. Silence, 12. Shadows and Darkness, 13. Aura, 14. Liminality, 15. Fragments, 16. Leavings, 17. Submersion, 18. Weathering and Patina, 19. Ephemerality and Transience, 20. Camouflage, 21. Monochrome, 22. Intimate Immensity, Conclusion - beauty and sadness, the place of melancholy, the `pastoral lament', Vignette 3: Landschaft
Jacky Bowring is Professor of Landscape Architecture at Lincoln University, Christchurch, New Zealand. She is the author of A Field Guide to Melancholy.