chapter  3
Garden
Memory in the Labyrinth
WithAmy Wygant
Pages 36

In 1677, the date of Phedre's premiere, the labyrinth, in addition to being a fabulous ancient site, was a locatable place in the garden of Versailles. One of the great landscape gardener Andre Le Notre's earliest bosquets in the Petit Parc, the Labyrinthe had probably been laid out in the mid-166os, and, starting in 1672, it had been embellished with thirty-nine fountains illustrating fables, mostly taken from Aesop and Phaedrus. But the bosquet of the Labyrinthe emerges indistinctly with respect to its form and presence in the garden of Versailles. The most complicated movement of the garden walk, and the bosquet in which, it is safe to say, there is the most to see, elicits no seeing, and no command to others to see, from the King. On the contrary, the entire experience of the Labyrinthe is literally apres-coup: one no sooner enters than it is all over, 'apres avoir descendu'.