The Cabaret of Plants: botany and the imagination

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A rich, sweeping, and compelling work of botanical history, The Cabaret of Plants explores dozens of plant species that for millennia have challenged our imaginations, awoken our wonder, and upturned our ideas about history, science, beauty, and belief. Going back to the beginnings of human history, Richard Mabey shows how flowers, trees, and plants have been central to human experience not just as sources of food and medicine but as objects of worship, actors in creation myths, and symbols of war and peace, life and death. Mabey takes listeners from the Himalayas to Madagascar to the Amazon to our own backyards. He ranges through the work of writers, artists, and scientists and across nearly 40,000 years of human history: Ice Age images of plant life in ancient cave art and the earliest representations of the Garden of Eden; Newton's apple and gravity, Priestley's sprig of mint and photosynthesis, and Wordsworth's daffodils; the history of cultivated plants such as maize, ginseng, and cotton; and the ways the sturdy oak became the symbol of British nationhood and the giant sequoia came to epitomize the spirit of America.
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Grouped Work ID 5892c4c0-5031-b969-1550-1f56646da8c1
full_title cabaret of plants botany and the imagination
author mabey richard
grouping_category book
lastUpdate 2018-04-19 01:16:48AM

Solr Details

accelerated_reader_point_value 0
accelerated_reader_reading_level 0
auth_author2 Lister, Ralph.
author Richard Mabey
author2-role Lister, Ralph., hoopla digital.
author_display Mabey, Richard
available_at_pitkin Online OverDrive Collection
detailed_location_pitkin Online OverDrive Collection

In The Cabaret of Plants, Mabey explores the plant species which have challenged our imaginations, awoken our wonder, and upturned our ideas about history, science, beauty and belief.

Picked from every walk of life, they encompass crops, weeds, medicines, religious gathering-places and a water lily named after a queen. Beginning with pagan cults and creation myths, the cultural significance of plants has burst upwards, sprouting into forms as diverse as the panacea (the cure-all plant ginseng, a single root of which can cost up to $10,000), Newton's apple, the African 'vegetable elephant' or boabab - and the mystical, night-flowering Amazonian cactus, the moonflower.

Ranging widely across science, art and cultural history, poetry and personal experience, Mabey puts plants centre stage, and reveals a true botanical cabaret, a world of tricksters, shape-shifters and inspired problem-solvers, as well as an enthralled audience of romantics, eccentric amateur scientists and transgressive artists. The Cabaret of Plants celebrates the idea that plants are not simply 'the furniture of the planet', but vital, inventive, individual beings worthy of respect - and that to understand this may be the best way of preserving life together on Earth.

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id 5892c4c0-5031-b969-1550-1f56646da8c1
isbn 9781515924098, 9781847654014
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primary_isbn 9781515924098
publishDate 2015, 2016
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subject_facet Botany -- History, Human-plant relationships, Imagination -- History, Plants -- History
title_display The Cabaret of Plants
title_full The Cabaret of Plants Botany and the Imagination, The cabaret of plants : botany and the imagination [electronic resource] / Richard Mabey
title_short The Cabaret of Plants
title_sub botany and the imagination
topic_facet Biography & Autobiography, Botany, Gardening, History, Human-plant relationships, Imagination, Nonfiction, Plants, Sociology