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The Machine in the TextScience and Literature in the Age of Shakespeare and Galileo$
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Howard Marchitello

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199608058

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199608058.001.0001

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Nature's Art

Nature's Art

Chapter:
(p.154) 6 Nature's Art
Source:
The Machine in the Text
Author(s):

Howard Marchitello

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199608058.003.0006

This chapter begins with a discussion of The Winter's Tale in which we see Shakespeare negotiating the art–nature contest in two complexly related moments. The first is Polixenes' declaration that “art itself is nature.” The second is the conjuring of Hermione's statue, a spectacular event that depends upon the logic of the trompe l'oeil figured not only in Giulio Romano's statue, but in the play itself, that contests Polixenes' “naturalness of art” argument. The chapter then shifts to the early modern garden and the response to the art–nature debate that emerges from within mid-seventeenth-century garden theory and practice. Focusing particularly on John Evelyn's Elysium Britannicum, this chapter argues that the early modern garden is an ideal locus for a consideration of the nature of nature for it is here that one witnesses a dismantling of the “naturalness of nature” argument and its replacement with the understanding of nature's artificial nature.

Keywords:   Shakespeare, art–nature, trompe l'oeil, John Evelyn, garden theory, emblem, George Wither, pastoralism, georgic, automata

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