über gartenTourismus / ‚the innocents abroad‘ von mark twain

VERSAILLES! It is wonderfully beautiful! You gaze, and stare, and try to understand that it is real, that it is on the earth, that it is not the Garden of Eden—but your brain grows giddy, stupefied by the world of beauty around you, and you half believe you are the dupe of an exquisite dream. The scene thrills one like military music! A noble palace, stretching its ornamented front block upon block away, till it seemed that it would never end; a grand promenade before it, whereon the armies of an empire might parade; all about it rainbows of flowers, and colossal statues that were almost numberless, and yet seemed only scattered over the ample space; broad flights of stone steps leading down from the promenade to lower grounds of the park—stairways that whole regiments might stand to arms upon and have room to spare; vast fountains whose great bronze effigies discharged rivers of sparkling water into the air and mingled a hundred curving jets together in forms of matchless beauty; wide grass-carpeted avenues that branched hither and thither in every direction and wandered to seemingly interminable distances, walled all the way on either side with compact ranks of leafy trees whose branches met above and formed arches as faultless and as symmetrical as ever were carved in stone; and here and there were glimpses of sylvan lakes with miniature ships glassed in their surfaces. And every where—on the palace steps, and the great promenade, around the fountains, among the trees, and far under the arches of the endless avenues, hundreds and hundreds of people in gay costumes walked or ran or danced, and gave to the fairy picture the life and animation which was all of perfection it could have lacked.

It was worth a pilgrimage to see. Every thing is on so gigantic a scale. Nothing is small—nothing is cheap. The statues are all large; the palace is grand; the park covers a fair-sized county; the avenues are interminable. All the distances and all the dimensions about Versailles are vast. I used to think the pictures exaggerated these distances and these dimensions beyond all reason, and that they made Versailles more beautiful than it was possible for any place in the world to be. I know now that the pictures never came up to the subject in any respect, and that no painter could represent Versailles on canvas as beautiful as it is in reality. I used to abuse Louis XIV. for spending two hundred millions of dollars in creating this marvelous park, when bread was so scarce with some of his subjects; but I have forgiven him now.

mark twain ‚the innocents abroad, or, the new pilgrim’s progress; being some account of the steamship quaker city’s pleasure excursion to europe and the holy land; with descriptions of countries, nations, incidents and adventures […]‘, 1869

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„I had a very good name for the estate, and it was musical and pretty – GARDEN OF EDEN.“ / extract from the ‚extracts from adam’s diary‘ by mark twain

Monday – This new creature with the long hair is a good deal in the way. It is always hanging around and following me about. I don’t like this; I am not used to the company. I wish it would stay with the other animals. […]

Tuesday – Been examining the great waterfall. It is the finest thing on the estate, I think. The new creature calls it Niagara Falls – why, I am sure I do not know. Says it LOOKS like Niagara Falls. That is not a reason, it is mere waywardness and imbecility. […]

Wednesday – Built me a shelter against the rain, but could not have it to myself in peace. The new creature intruded. […]

Friday – The naming goes recklessly on, in spite of anything I can do. I had a very good name for the estate, and it was musical and pretty – GARDEN OF EDEN. Privately, I continue to call it that, but not any longer publicly. The new creature says it is all woods and rocks and scenery, and therefore has no resemblance to a garden. Says it looks like a park, and does not look like anything but a park. Consequently, without consulting me, it has been new-named – NIAGARA FALLS PARK. This is sufficiently high-handed, it seems to me. And already there is a sign up

KEEP OFF THE GRASS

[…]

Tuesday – She has littered the whole estate with execrable names and offensive signs:

 This way to the Whirlpool

This way to Goat Island

Cave of the Winds this way

She says this park would make a tidy summer resort if there was any custom for it. Summer resort – another invention of hers – just words, without any meaning. What is a summer resort? But it is best not to ask her, she has such a rage for explaining.

mark twain, ‚extracts from adam’s diary‘, 1904

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albrecht dürer, ‚vertreibung aus dem paradies‘ aus der folge ‚kleine (holzschnitt)passion‘, 1509/10