Botanical Shakespeare: An Illustrated Compendium of All the Flowers, Fruits, Herbs, Trees, Seeds, and Grasses Cited by the World's Greatest Playwright
A captivating, beautifully illustrated, one-of-a-kind color compendium of the flowers, fruits, herbs, trees, seeds, and grasses cited in the works of the world’s greatest playwright, William Shakespeare, accompanied by their companion quotes from all of his plays and poems. With a foreword by Dame Helen Mirren—the first foreword she has ever contributed.
In this striking compilation, Shakespeare historian Gerit Quealy and respected Japanese artist Sumié Hasegawa combine their knowledge and skill in this first and only book that examines every plant that appears in the works of Shakespeare.
Botanical Shakespeare opens with a brief look at the Bard’s relationship to the plants mentioned in his works—a diversity that illuminates his knowledge of the science of botany, as well as the colloquy, revealing his unmatched skill for creating metaphorical connections and interweaving substantive philosophy. At the heart of the book are "portraits" of the over 170 flowers, fruits, grains, grasses, trees, herbs, seeds and vegetables that Shakespeare mentions in his plays and poems. Botanical Shakespeare features a gorgeous color illustration of each, giving a "face" to the name, alongside the specific text in which it appears and the character(s) who utter the lines in which it is mentioned.
This fascinating visual compendium also includes a dictionary describing each plant—such as Eglantine, a wild rose with a slight prickle, cherished for its singular scent, superior to any other rose; and the difference between apples and apple-john—along with indices listing the botanical by play/poem, by character, and genus for easy reference, ideal for gardeners and thoughtful birthday gift-giving.
This breathtaking, incomparable collection of exquisite artwork and companion quotes offers unique depth and insight into Shakespeare and his timeless work through the unusual perspective of the plants themselves.
“BOTANICAL SHAKESPEARE [is] a comprehensive guide to the flora that appears in Shakespeare’s work.” (The New York Times)
“The book [has] stunning illustrations paired with beautiful (and, sometimes, downright bawdy) lines from Shakespeare.” (Paste Magazine)
“Each plant’s one-page entry (a few get two) features a lovely full-color drawing and the line(s) where it appears, fully cited . . . Nature buffs and general readers as well as students will enjoy this interesting book, which is suitable for both browsing and quick reference.” (Booklist)
From the Back Cover
In this stunning compilation, Shakespeare expert Gerit Quealy has teamed up with notable Japanese artist Sumié Hasegawa-Collins to create the most comprehensive collection of all the flowers, fruits, herbs, trees, seeds, and grasses mentioned in Shakespeare’s works, each paired with an exquisite illustration and corresponding quote.
Quealy supplements the dazzling main text with rich background information, explaining Shakespeare’s relationship to plants, describing his deep knowledge of botany—as well as colloquialisms—and his unmatched skill for creating metaphorical connections. An accompanying dictionary elaborates on each plant, providing facts, historical context, and anecdotes—such as the differences between an apple and an apple-john, how clinging burrs from the burdock plant that stick to anything brushing by became associated with obsessive crushes, and that the turnip is mentioned only once in all of Shakespeare, in the Merry Wives of Windsor, when Anne Page says she prefers Death by Vegetable to marrying a foolish suitor.
Twenty years in the making, Botanical Shakespeare is a labor of love from illustrator Hasegawa-Collins and Quealy, whose combined passion for both Shakespeare and plants has resulted in this beautiful and meticulous compendium that leaves no petal unturned.