1629 Paradisus of John Parkinson

Jim McKenney jamesamckenney@verizon.net
Thu, 13 Feb 2014 08:23:10 PST
Leo wrote:"I would think Parkinson's title refers to gardens in general, and might be translated simply as
_The Garden_."

I won't disagree with you, Leo, but to translate Parkinson's title as "The Garden" is to deny the multilayered meaning of the actual title. The title of the book is "Paradisi in Sole Paradisus Terrestris". The text of the book is in English, not, as the title might suggest, in Latin. The title is an elaborate pun on the author's name, a pun which for its effectiveness depends on translating "paradisus" as "park". The only nominative noun in the title is the word "Paradisus"; that's why the usual abbreviation of the title is "Paradisus" rather than "Paradisi". "Paradisi" is to be construed as a genitive singular noun, and the phrase "paradisi in sole" is thus understood to mean "Parkinson's". That gives the translation "Parkinson's Earthly Paradise";  and, as befits the man who was apothecary to James I and Royal Botanist to Charles I,  "paradise" indicated a park, hardly the little scrap of ground most of us know as a garden. Yet the actual plans
 for planting included in the Paradisus are those for little knot gardens.

The paradise garden tradition is still strong in England: where else on earth is there the combination of tradition, climate and cultural aspiration to support such a thing? Edward Hyams' The English Garden (Abrams, 1966) was this American reader's introduction to this tradition.

Jim McKenney
Montgomery County, Maryland, USA,  USDA zone 7, where the snowfall has stopped and the shoveling will soon begin - but first, I'll bake some chocolate chip cookies to have as a reward when I finish the shoveling (16" of snow on the table on the deck).

On Wednesday, February 12, 2014 8:25 PM, Leo A. Martin <leo@possi.org> wrote:
Jim McKenney wrote

> ...in his 1629 Paradisus, John Parkinson....

From what I've read, the very earliest gardens known, in what is now called the Middle
East, were walled enclosures with water features. They were known by a name that today
has morphed into "paradise." Gardens of this design are common in Roman and Arabic
architecture, as can be seen in ancient buildings in Spain and Pompeii, and a modern
recreation of a Pompeiian villa at the old Getty museum in Malibu, California. I would
think Parkinson's title refers to gardens in general, and might be translated simply as
_The Garden_.

Saffron was no doubt grown in or near such gardens. Thus we have both bulbous and blue
content to this message. Gastil, if you have trouble with Colchicum, you can probably
grow saffron without too much trouble in well-drained soil.

Leo Martin
Phoenix Arizona USA

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