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

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


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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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780062469892
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 04/04/2017
Pages: 208
Sales rank: 334,579
Product dimensions: 6.60(w) x 9.40(h) x 1.00(d)

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Botanical Shakespeare: An Illustrated Compendium of All the Flowers, Fruits, Herbs, Trees, Seeds, and Grasses Cited by the World's Greatest Playwright 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 7 reviews.
Library_Love More than 1 year ago
I first saw this book at a friend’s place and was quite taken by the watercolor images on each page. Then I began reading the Shakespeare quotes attributed to each of the plants and was reminded of some of the stories I read when I was at college. Being so enamored with the book I bought my own copy and I have to say I love it. Never would I have thought a book of this type could really hold my interest the way it does, but how wrong I’d have been. This was a really great buy and so different from anything else in my collection.
LuxuryLit More than 1 year ago
I’m not generally a fan of non-fiction or reference books, but I did find this to be pretty entertaining. It’s a long time since I read any Shakespeare myself, but when leafing through Botanical Shakespeare I found a lot of what I’d read in my youth returning to me after reading some of the quotes in here. The whole book really does look marvellous and the quotes used are indeed rather pithy. All in all I don’t see this as a book I’ll sit and read right through like a would a novel, but it’s one I do think I’ll keep returning to when I have a few minutes here or there, so I’m glad I bought it.
CrackedSpine More than 1 year ago
Botanical Shakespeare is a book recommended by a friend of mine, and I bought it thinking I would have a passing interest as a Shakespeare fan and would flick through from time to time. I hadn’t anticipated how captivated I would be by the depth of research that has obviously gone into it, and the sometimes funny and often profound quotes that made me reflect back to some of my favourite passages from Shakespeare’s writing. As has been mentioned by other reviewers the quality of the book stands out a mile, with superior quality paper and cover, and the high standard of illustrations carry off the writing just perfectly. Really happy with my purchase, and I’m wondering what Quealy will put together to follow up this masterpiece.
BookBlast More than 1 year ago
This is probably the best quality book I’ve purchased in a long time. Yes the quality of writing and illustrations is superb, but the paper quality and overall production is really quite exquisite. Every page is packed with information and colourful pictures, and despite me thinking reading for a little while I’d get tired of the subject matter that didn’t happen at all. I’d bought this to gift to a friend, but will now have to buy a second copy as I’m keeping this one for myself. A great addition to any family bookshelf, and the neighbours were quite engrossed when they popped in earlier too.
Jamztoma More than 1 year ago
Botanical Shakespeare is a book I bought to give away as a gift, but after it arrived I flicked through and now am compelled to keep this for myself and buy another to gift. The pages are beautifully printed with clear explanations about the various plants, and some stunning artwork. I’d never considered the association and subsequent meaning behind plants in Shakespeare’s work. Some philosophical musings, and others quite humorous, but always entertaining and insightful. Very much, for me at least, a coffee table book, but I’ve already found guests flipping through and conversations start associated with what they were also surprised to find. An excellent addition to any home.
ValeryElias16 More than 1 year ago
Botanical Shakespeare: An Illustrated Compendium of All the Flowers, Fruits, Herbs, Trees, Seeds, and Grasses Cited by the World's Greatest Playwright by Gerit Quealy, and illustrator Sumie Hasegawa Collins is simply put, a beautiful book. If you love Shakespeare, this is a great book that highlights some of his most interesting quotes. If you love flowers, and all things botanical, this is a great book that delves deep into that area. If you are into great art, this is a great book, and if you are drawn to a combination of all of these things, this is the perfect book for you. This is not a sit down and read from cover to cover kind of book, but one that you can pick up, marvel at the beauty and read a few Shakespeare quotes. Simply gorgeous illustrations set this book apart, and the forward by Helen Mirren is a work of art in itself. A lovely book to keep out at all times to make it readily available to anyone who wants to peer inside, this book is highly recommended for a delightful diversion.
SarahEagle More than 1 year ago
Attention all Shakespeare nerds: There is a book about all the references to plants in his various works, with the cited passages that also hint as to what symbolism they mean! The illustrations alone make this an excellent bookshelf accessory, but if you're at all interested in horticulture or even just different facets of Shakespeare, this is an absolute must. My favorite part was seeing which plants Shakespeare referenced the most, and in what contexts. It gives you a great feel for what Shakespeare knew, and what kind if imagery he intended to invoke.