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Botanical Shakespeare

Botanical Shakespeare

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An Illustrated Compendium of All the Flowers, Fruits, Herbs, Trees, Seeds, and Grasses Cited by the World’s Greatest Playwright

GERIT QUEALY

EPIGRAPH
Yet Nature is made better by no mean But Nature makes that mean: so, over that
Art Which you say adds to Nature, is an Art That Nature makes.
You see, sweet maid, we marry A gentler scion to the wildest stock, And make conceive a bark of baser kind By bud of nobler race: this is an Art Which does mend Nature, change it rather, but 
The ART itself is NATURE.
—Winter’s Tale [Act IV, Scene 4]


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Book Details
 Price
 3.00
 Pages
 416 p
 File Size 
 14,878 KB
 File Type
 PDF format
 ISBN
 978-0-06-246989-2
 Copyright©   
 2017 by Gerit Quealy 
 Foreword © 2017 by Helen Mirren

FOREWORD
This graceful volume is the marriage of Shakespeare’s words about plants and
the plants themselves. It beautifully combines my love of Shakespeare and of
gardening. Seeing what each plant looks like, their faces if you will, is
fascinating, and incredibly helpful, especially with the more obscure ones.
My penchant for gardening came during my time with the Royal
Shakespeare Company in Stratford—the physicality of the material and the
material world of plants sort of converged. There I developed a passion for the
countryside—the gold and green of the landscape, the changing colours and
textures of the seasons, the scent of damp earth and pungent wildflowers.
It’s the experience of each that provides the thrill: getting your hands dirty,
diving down to the root of it all, finding the real joy of growth. “Joy’s soul lies in
the doing,” says Shakespeare’s Cressida, and it’s true.

Nature has become a passion and a tonic for me so finding a way to keep it
close is a priority [I even made a garden outside my trailer in Lithuania while
shooting Elizabeth I]. It satisfies what I call my appetite for solitude.
How delightful then that this elegant book contains all of Shakespeare’s
words about plants beside exquisite drawings of the plants themselves. You can
sit with it in solitude and have a direct experience of each plant. You can almost
touch or smell each one. Maybe it will make you want to do that—feel the spiky
thorns of the rose or the fuzzy heads of burdock. I hope so. I love the fact that
the olives I grow in my garden appear in six different plays, plus a sonnet [107]:
“Peace proclaims Olives of endless age.”
— Helen Mirren
....

Introduction
He will work you any Flower to the life, as like it
as if it grew in the very place;
and being a delicate perfumer
he will give it you his perfect and natural Savour.
— from Sir Gyles Goosecappe, by George Chapman
Lawyers claim Shakespeare was a lawyer, doctors think he was medically
trained, actors assume he was a thespian, soldiers, sailors, and astronomers all
claim a kindred spirit. So it should be no surprise that knowledgeable gardeners
think the Bard’s extensive use of botanical references would qualify him as a
Master Gardener.
Playwright Ben Jonson, Shakespeare’s eulogist of sorts, said he was “not of
an Age, but for all Time.” He might have added, “for all professions.” Ben’s
1623 prognostication proved true enough—the immortal Bard’s work and wit
are probably more popular and pored over than those of any other writer
throughout history.
Just as Shakespeare’s words have fallen on fertile ground, so are they fertile
ground themselves for a bounty of botany. Professional horticulturalists,
gardening hobbyists, and nature lovers in general all share a fascination for the
vast array of flowers, fruits, grains, grasses, seeds and weeds, plants and trees,
herbs, spices, and vegetables sprouting in Shakespeare’s plays and sonnets—
roughly 175 specific mentions, with even more general references and
commentary on planting, pruning, growing, grafting, weeding, seeding, folklore
galore, and tributes, naturally:
. . . tongues in trees, books in the running brooks,
Sermons in stones and good in every thing
Even the sinister side of plants—dangerous poisons, painful nettles and thorns,
or the threatening approach of Birnam Wood—holds thrall.
I will not be afraid of death and bane,
Till Birnam forest come to Dunsinane.
Casual mentions of plants are interlaced everywhere; the bane tucked in the
above quotation is a succinct rhyme but also no doubt a truncated version of
either Wolfsbane or Henbane, deadly poisons perfectly at home in the dark
world that is Macbeth.

THERE WAS SOMETHING ABOUT ELIZABETH . . .
Perhaps this fertile ground owes more to the reign of Elizabeth than to anything
else. Her ascension to the throne in 1558 marked a sort of steadying of the severe
pendulum swings put in motion by her father, Henry VIII, when he broke with
the church in Rome. That shock was still reverberating through the populace
when first the Evangelion Edward VI, then his Catholic sister, who became
known as Bloody Mary, succeeded in stretching the country to the extremes of
religious fervor. The highly educated, peaceable, and pleasure-loving Elizabeth
stayed that pendulum insomuch as she could. She seeded England with a passion
for learning; poetry fused with the classics flourished, and the new entertainment
of plays. Publishing went into overdrive, first with translations of popular
material from Europe, which included botany books, then with homegrown
versions in just about every genre. Which is why this era is known as the Early
Modern period, because it is essentially the community from which our current
society springs. In short, she created a culture in which investigation, discovery,
experimentation, and creativity blossomed. A sort of garden plan to foster a
Renaissance at any time.
....


Table of Contents

COVER
TITLE PAGE
DEDICATION

EPIGRAPH

FOREWORD by HELEN MIRREN

INTRODUCTION

THE BOTANICALS: Plant Portraits, Alphabetically and QUOTES

BOTANICALS DEFINED: Syllabic Sketches

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
COPYRIGHT
ABOUT THE PUBLISHER

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Published in 2017 by
Harper Design
An Imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers

195 Broadway
New York, NY 10007
Tel: [212] 207-7000
Fax: [855] 746-6023
harperdesign@harpercollins.com www.hc.com
Distributed throughout the world by HarperCollins Publishers

EPub Edition April 2017 ISBN 9780062469908
Library of Congress Control Number 2016951429

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