The Brief Life of Flowers
By Fiona Stafford
A collection of wide-ranging essays on Britain's best-loved flowers from the author of The Long, Long Life of Trees
The beauty of flowers is well known, inspiring creative minds from Botticelli to Beatrix Potter. But they've also played a key part in forming the past, and may shape our future.
Roses and thistles have served as symbols of monarchs, dynasties and nations. We wear poppies to remember the First World War, but it was the elderflower that treated its wounded soldiers. A rose might mend a broken heart, and sunflowers may just save our planet.
At once enchanting and intriguing, The Brief Life of Flowers reveals how even the most ordinary of flowers have extraordinary stories to tell.
Fiona Stafford is Professor of English at the University of Oxford. She specialises in literature of the Romantic period (especially Wordsworth, Austen, Burns, Keats, Clare), Scottish and Irish literature, contemporary poetry, environmental humanities and nature writing, literature and the visual arts. In addition to academic books and essays, she contributes to newspapers, literary magazines, art books and collections of nature writing. She is the author of The Long, Long Life of Trees, and Jane Austen: A Brief Life.
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- Publication date:
04 Apr 2019
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A glowing account of the myths and meanings we impose on flowers . . . a book to reread and treasure — Sunday Times
I can't imagine anyone who wouldn't enjoy this enchanting journey into the very heart of snowdrops, sunflowers, poppies, daisies, roses, and many other beloved flowers. Each is given its own chapter - a perfect pot-pourri of botanical information, history, literature, symbolism, art and herbalism, imaginatively illustrated — Daily Mail
A glorious tour de force . . . My hunch is that The Brief Life of Flowers will last long, evolving from perennial favourite to classic — Country Life
Botanical miscellanies are not thin on the ground but few, if any, offer prose as cultured, scrupulous and engaging — The Spectator
A captivating new book that explores our fascination with flowers . . . A delight — Daily Mail
This is a charming, old-fashioned book — Literary Review