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Article

Locus iste locorum: облики сада в «Перламутровом ларце» А. Франса

Никитина Н. А., Тулякова Н. А.

The image of the garden, one of the most widespread in the world culture, is considered to be multifaceted, as the concepts of the ideal world which the garden embodies change with time. The present paper looks at the image of the garden in Anatole France’s cycle L’Étui de nacre, where three different epochs with their peculiar systems of values are represented, and garden is one of the most frequent images. The objective of the research is to ascertain the functions of the garden image by analyzing the transformations of the image. The analysis is conducted by pinpointing all representations of the garden, tracing their roots in the world culture and establishing the network of relations between the images. The first part of the cycle, which depicts the Late Antiquity and the early Middle Ages, employs the garden image in several forms: a sacred grove which is chosen by hermits as a place for spiritual life, a garden of a rich villa, where its owner tries to hide from the tumult of political life, a fruit garden, which shows appreciation of cultivation, and a speculative paradise. This garden is mostly open to everybody who wishes to enter, and is a place where opposite systems of values can meet and live peacefully. The second part, devoted to the modern epoch, moves on to the image of an enclosed garden. It is embodied in the image of a monastery garden, hortus conclusus, which symbolizes Virgin Mary, and a fruit garden of a new Protestant type. These images reflect the heroes strive for Paradise and their desperate attempt to enter it. However, life tends to destroy their idyll, either encroaching on the garden or tempting the personages with Locus amoenus, a love garden. The third part, where the action takes place during the French Bourgeois Revolution, introduces and develops the image of the English romantic park, which is perceived by the heroes as a space for direct communicating with God, not through prayer, but through nature. They deliberately build a garden following Rousseau’s principles, but its safety is ruined by the revolutionary terror. The romantic park is substituted by a public garden suited for the ruling power, or is diminished to the space of a prison yard with a symbolic acacia tree in the center. The author of the paper argues that France reveals a profound knowledge of the world culture and the place which the garden, as well as flower and tree symbolism, occupies in it. Rather than creating an original garden image, the writer borrows stable and semantically loaded images from the world culture. The garden is one of the elements which are used to fully represent each epoch and its idea of happiness. The transformation and evolution of the image contribute to getting the author’s message across: no concept is full or ideal and can be understood only when surrounded by other representations of the same idea.