Michael Kenna


A horticultural disaster
Significantly, one of the only “private” texts written by the king was Manière de Montrer les Jardins de Versailles, a very directive visitor’s guide to the grounds of Versailles :
“In the light of dusk, it was something terrifying to behold. The mountainous boulder occupied the entire lawn, the tomb formed a cube in the middle of the spinach, the Venitian bridge made a circumflex over the beans — and beyond that, the cabana was a huge black blot, for they had scorched its roof to render it more poetic. The yews shaped like deer or armchairs, followed in a line up to the shattered tree, which stretched crosswise from the arbor to the bower, where to matoes hung like stalactites.The occasional sunflower spread its yellow disk. The Chinese pagoda, painted red, looked like a lighthouse over the monticule. The beaks of the peacocks, struck by the sun, beamed light back and forth to each other. And past the lattice fence, its planks now re moved, the flat countryside stretched to the horizon.”
Gustave Flaubert, Bouvard and Pécuchet, trans. Mark Polizzotti (Champaign, Ill.: Dalkey Archive Press, 2005), 44.