Thesis Finished!

It’s been a very long haul but I am finally finished my Master of Landscape Architecture degree at the University of Guelph. I entered the landscape architecture field in large part through my love of history, and I hope I will be able to find a job that allows me to exercise my interests towards making a meaningful contribution to the cultural landscapes of Nova Scotia/the Atlantic Provinces (my heart is on the East Coast). At the very least, I hope to blog here a bit more frequently now that the weight of always having an unfinished thesis has been lifted off my shoulders. For reasons almost exclusively rooted in self-promotion (not something I do well, so I’ve decided to seize the moment while it lasts), here is the abstract for my recently completed thesis:

Meaning and Imagined Memories: Exploring Literary Landscape Theory Through the Aesthetics of Lucy Maud Montgomery

This thesis explores the theory of literary landscapes. The research is composed primarily of an interdisciplinary literature review that draws on landscape architectural theory, tourism studies, literary criticism, and landscape history and cultural geography, as well as archival research and site visits. It positions literary landscapes in relation to the landscape meaning discourse, and argues that they are an essentially experiential way of perceiving landscape through the use of “imagined memories” by the literary visitor. Using the example of L.M. Montgomery, the research explores how understanding an author’s landscape aesthetic can reveal past and present meaning in the landscape, and how this aesthetic—understood formally, thematically, and as embodied experience—allows us to understand the range of literary visitor motivations and expectations, as well as encouraging the exploration of how landscape architects might design, manage, and interpret literary landscapes based on an author’s aesthetic.

If you have an interest in reading my thesis, you can find it here.


3 Responses to “Thesis Finished!”

  1. 1 Sarah Emsley 09/23/2014 at 10:07 PM

    Congratulations! I remember that fantastic feeling of handing in a thesis. All the best for your future plans and projects.

    I thought of you and your research the other day when I was reading essays from the new Literary Atlas of Atlantic Canada – you probably already know about the website, do you?

    • 2 bluenosegardener 09/23/2014 at 10:24 PM

      Wow, no, I had not heard of that! Thank you for sharing. This thesis dragged on for so long that I just had to stop ‘looking’ after a point in order to get it finished, though I am intrigued by what I see at first glance of Anne Furlong’s L.M. Montgomery essay–mainly that “Montgomery was an intimate stranger in her own home”–and I know precisely where I would have incorporated that into my thesis. It was so hard staying focused on the landscape architecture angle of my research, when there is so much to be said about Montgomery’s landscapes. But literary landscapes–especially as a “way of seeing” today–are really fascinating.

      I didn’t get that feeling of relief with my first thesis, as I launched straight into another grad program. So far I have baked cookies and vacuumed. I wish I knew what was next for me! I have been in school for so long, it’s hard to imagine a life without it.

      • 3 Sarah Emsley 09/23/2014 at 10:31 PM

        Oh, I’m so glad you know about it now! It’s very new — just launched in August — and I only know about it because my father is one of the contributors (he wrote the essay on George Elliott Clarke’s Whylah Falls). I hope the editors will advertise it widely, as it’s such a great resource. I haven’t read Anne Furlong’s piece yet but will look forward to doing so.

        I know that feeling of being in school for a very, very long time, too…. Hope you find your dream job on the East Coast.

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