A Cultural History of Plants (6 volumes). Annette Giesecke and David Mabberly series editors, volume editors, and contributors. Bloomsbury: London, 2020.
A Cultural History of Plants presents a global exploration of human-botanical interaction from prehistory to today. It is the definitive overview of how we have cultivated, traded, classified, and altered plants and how, in turn, plants have influenced human culture, from food and religion to medicine and architecture.
A Cultural History of Plants in Antiquity (c. 10,000 BCE-500 CE)
Edited by Annette Giesecke, University of Delaware, USA
A Cultural History of Plants in the Post-Classical Era (500-1400)
Edited by Alain Touwaide, Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, USA
A Cultural History of Plants in the Early Modern Era (1400-1650)
Edited by Andrew Dalby, independent scholar, UK
A Cultural History of Plants in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries (1650-1800)
Edited by Jennifer Milam, University of Sydney, Australia
A Cultural History of Plants in the Nineteenth Century (1800-1920)
Edited by David Mabberley, University of Oxford, UK
A Cultural History of Plants in the Modern Era (1920-today)
Edited by Stephen Forbes, Adelaide Botanic Gardens, Australia
Each volume assesses the same key themes in its chapters, meaning readers can gain a broad overview of each period, or follow a theme throughout history by reading the relevant chapter in each volume.
1. Plants as Staple Foods
2. Plants as Luxury Foods
3. Trade & Exploration
4. Plant Technology & Science
5. Plants & Medicine
6. Plants in Culture
7. Plants as Natural Ornaments
8. The Representation of Plants
The Good Gardener? Nature, Humanity, and the Garden
The Good Gardener? Nature, Humanity, and the Garden illuminates both the foundations and after-effects of humanity’s deep-rooted impulse to manipulate the natural environment and create garden spaces of diverse kinds. Gardens range from subsistence plots to sites of philosophical speculation, refuge, and self-expression. Gardens may serve as projections of personal or national identity. They may result from individual or collective enterprises. They may shape the fabric of the dwelling house or city. They may be real or imagined, literary constructs or visions of paradise rendered in paint. Some result from a delicate negotiation between creator and medium. Others, in turn, readily reveal the underlying paradox of every garden’s creation: the garden, so often viewed as a kinder, gentler, ‘second nature,’ results from violence done to what was once wilderness. Designed as a companion volume to Earth Perfect? Nature, Utopia, and the Garden, this richly illustrated collection of provocative essays is edited by Annette Giesecke, Professor of Classics at the University of Delaware, and Naomi Jacobs, Professor of English at the University of Maine. Contributors to this wide-ranging volume include photographer Margaret Morton, landscape ethicist Rick Darke, philosopher David Cooper, environmental journalist Emma Marris, and food historian William Rubel.
The Mythology of Plants: Botanical Lore From Ancient Greece and Rome
This engaging book focuses on the perennially fascinating topic of plants in Greek and Roman myth. The author, an authority on the gardens, art, and literature of the classical world, introduces the book’s main themes with a discussion of gods and heroes in ancient Greek and Roman gardens. The following chapters recount the everyday uses and broader cultural meaning of plants with particularly strong mythological associations. These include common garden plants such as narcissus and hyacinth; pomegranate and apple, which were potent symbols of fertility; and sources of precious incense including frankincense and myrrh. Following the sweeping botanical commentary are the myths themselves, told in the original voice of Ovid, classical antiquity’s most colorful mythographer.
The volume’s interdisciplinary approach will appeal to a wide audience, ranging from readers interested in archaeology, classical literature, and ancient history to garden enthusiasts. With an original translation of selections from Ovid’s Metamorphoses, an extensive bibliography, a useful glossary of names and places, and a rich selection of images including exquisite botanical illustrations, this book is unparalleled in scope and realization.
EARTH PERFECT? Nature, Utopia, and the Garden
Earth Perfect? Nature, Utopia and the Garden is an eclectic, yet rigorous reflection on the relationship—historical, present and future—between humanity and the garden. Through the lens of Utopian Studies—he interdisciplinary field that encompasses fictions all the way through to actual political projects, and urban ideals; in a nutshell, addressing the human natural drive towards the ideal—Earth Perfect? brings together a selection of inspiring essays, each contributed by foremost writers from the fields of architecture, history of art, classics, cultural studies, geography, horticulture, landscape architecture, law, literature, philosophy, urban planning and the natural sciences.
Through these joined voices, the garden emerges as a site of contestation and a repository for symbolic, spiritual, social, political and ecological meaning. Questions such as: “what is the role of the garden in defining humanity’s ideal relationship with nature?” and “how should we garden in the face of catastrophic ecological decline?” are addressed through wide-ranging case studies, including ancient Roman Gardens in Pompeii, Hieronymus Bosch’s Garden of Earthly Delights, the Gardens of Versailles, organic farming in New England and Bohemia’s secret gardens, as well as landscape in contemporary architecture.
Issues relating to the utopian garden are explored thematically rather than chronologically, and organized in six chapters: “Being in nature”, “inscribing the garden”, “green/house”, “The garden politic”, “economies of the garden” and “how then shall we garden?” Each essay is both individual in scope and part of the wider discourse of the book as a whole, and each is lusciously illustrated, bringing to life the subject with diverse visual material ranging from photography to historical documents, maps and artworks.
The Epic City: Urbanism, Utopia, and the Garden in Ancient Greece and Rome
As Greek and Trojan forces battled in the shadow of Troy’s wall, Hephaistos created a wondrous, ornately decorated shield for Achilles. At the Shield’s center lay two walled cities, one at war and one at peace, surrounded by fields and pasturelands. Viewed as Homer’s blueprint for an ideal, or utopian, social order, the Shield reveals that restraining and taming Nature would be fundamental to the Hellenic urban quest. It is this ideal that Classical Athens, with her utilitarian view of Nature, exemplified. In a city lacking pleasure gardens, it was particularly worthy of note when Epicurus created his garden oasis within the dense urban fabric.
The disastrous results of extreme anthropocentrism would promote an essentially nostalgic desire to break down artificial barriers between humanity and Nature. This new ideal, vividly expressed through the domestication of Nature in villas and gardens and also through primitivist and Epicurean tendencies in Latin literature, informed the urban endeavors of Rome.
Atoms, ataraxy, and allusion: Cross-generic imitation of the De rerum natura in early Augustan poetry