C.C.L. Hirschfeld was perhaps the most important writer on gardens and landscape in eighteenth-century Germany. Acclaimed as the "father of landscape garden art," he was influential not just in Germany but also in France, Hungary, Italy, the Netherlands, Scandinavia, and Russia. Popular with both experts and amateurs, Hirschfeld's writings had a significant effect on the development of European garden design, as well as on the establishment of public parks of his era. His celebration of the natural world sprang from his intellectual roots in Enlightened rationalism, but rather than following the systematic scientific strategy of his forerunners, Hirschfeld formulated a more popular approach that appealed to both the emotions and the reason of his audience. His five-volume Theory of Garden Art, published simultaneously in German and French between 1779 and 1785, is by far the most comprehensive of his works, and well-informed gardeners of the time considered it indispensable.
Although Hirschfeld's significance has increasingly been recognized in contemporary landscape scholarship, his works have not yet appeared in English. In this one-volume abridged edition Linda Parshall translates the essential aspects of the Theory of Garden Art, Hirschfeld's seminal work. The translation is accompanied by an introduction by Parshall, which analyzes Hirschfeld's place in the intellectual and cultural history of his time, and in the history of landscape design. This book will be a useful and authoritative contribution to both the history of landscape architecture and German cultural history.