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The Culture of Flowers

The Culture of Flowers

  • Date Published: February 1993
  • availability: Unavailable - out of print October 2001
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521424844

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About the Authors
  • Jack Goody's new book takes as its theme the symbolic and transactional uses of flowers in secular life and religious ritual from ancient Egypt to modern times. He links the use of flowers to the rise of advanced systems of agriculture, the growth of social stratification, and the spread of luxury goods, looking at the history of aesthetic horticulture in Europe and Asia. Other themes which emerge are the role of written texts in building up a culture of flowers; the importance of trade and communications in disseminating and transforming attitudes to flowers; the rejection on puritanical grounds of flowers and their artistic representation, and the multiplicity of meanings which flowers possess. Written from a broad temporal and geographical perspective, this original and wide-ranging book will appeal not only to anthropologists and social historians but also to anyone interested in flowers and their symbolic function across the centuries.

    • Best-selling internationally known author
    • Broad subject with non-academic appeal
    • Many illustrations
    • No other book treats the subject in this way
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    Reviews & endorsements

    '… his book is full of interest for anyone who wonders why people love flowers.' The Independent on Sunday

    'A bouquet of a book, this compendium of floral anthropology blossoms with detail … a sequence of brilliantly informed essays …'. The Observer

    'With ambitious comprehensiveness, this new study charts the social and symbolic significance of flowers down the ages … a pioneering work: intelligently argued, encyclopaedic in its learning, and handsomely produced.' The Sunday Telegraph

    'In this beautifully produced volume, Jack Goody … provides a majestic tour de monde of the culture of flowers … This encyclopedic compendium is in addition to being erudite, readable and interdisciplinary in focus, a must for all those interested in flowers from any perspective.' Choice

    '… a richly stimulating account of a wonderful subject.' The Financial Times

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    Product details

    • Date Published: February 1993
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521424844
    • length: 480 pages
    • dimensions: 244 x 172 x 28 mm
    • weight: 0.989kg
    • contains: 64 b/w illus. 14 colour illus. 3 tables
    • availability: Unavailable - out of print October 2001
  • Table of Contents

    List of illustrations
    Preface
    Acknowledgements
    1. Flowers in Africa
    2. In the beginning: gardens and paradise, garlands and sacrifice
    3. The decline of flower culture in Europe
    4. Flowers without representation in Islam
    5. The return of the rose in medieval Western Europe
    6. Icons and iconoclasm in the Renaissance
    7. The growth of the market
    8. The secret Language of Flowers in France: specialist knowledge or fictive ethnography
    9. The Americanisation of the foreign mind
    10. The popular culture of flowers in Europe
    11. Garlands in India: the marigold and the jasmine
    12. The 'four gentlemen of flowers' in China
    13. 'Let a hundred flowers bloom': the New Year in South China
    14. A distant reading
    References
    Index.

  • Author

    Jack Goody, University of Cambridge

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