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Daffodil: Biography of a Flower

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A beautifully illustrated, visually lush and intriguing book about the world's most popular and most powerful flower. The daffodil is the beautiful first flower of spring, the inspiration of poets, a treasure-trove to scientists and a symbol of everything from unrequited love, rebirth, eternal life and misfortune. Over centuries, the daffodil has been so many things to so A beautifully illustrated, visually lush and intriguing book about the world's most popular and most powerful flower. The daffodil is the beautiful first flower of spring, the inspiration of poets, a treasure-trove to scientists and a symbol of everything from unrequited love, rebirth, eternal life and misfortune. Over centuries, the daffodil has been so many things to so many people: it was called 'Narcissus' by the Greeks and prized by the Romans as guarantee of passage to the Underworld; it was used by medieval Arabs and ancient Chinese for its medicinal properties and it has inspired poets, lovers, artists and scientists down the ages. But in telling the story of the daffodil, what award-winning, best-selling writer Helen O'Neill is really telling is the story of humanity. It's a narrative of progress from superstition and myth, taking in politics, greed, religion, science, chance, redemption and love. But, appropriately enough for a flower that is now used on a worldwide basis to raise funds for cancer research, it is, above all, a story of hope. Moving, fascinating, eloquent, and also beautiful.


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A beautifully illustrated, visually lush and intriguing book about the world's most popular and most powerful flower. The daffodil is the beautiful first flower of spring, the inspiration of poets, a treasure-trove to scientists and a symbol of everything from unrequited love, rebirth, eternal life and misfortune. Over centuries, the daffodil has been so many things to so A beautifully illustrated, visually lush and intriguing book about the world's most popular and most powerful flower. The daffodil is the beautiful first flower of spring, the inspiration of poets, a treasure-trove to scientists and a symbol of everything from unrequited love, rebirth, eternal life and misfortune. Over centuries, the daffodil has been so many things to so many people: it was called 'Narcissus' by the Greeks and prized by the Romans as guarantee of passage to the Underworld; it was used by medieval Arabs and ancient Chinese for its medicinal properties and it has inspired poets, lovers, artists and scientists down the ages. But in telling the story of the daffodil, what award-winning, best-selling writer Helen O'Neill is really telling is the story of humanity. It's a narrative of progress from superstition and myth, taking in politics, greed, religion, science, chance, redemption and love. But, appropriately enough for a flower that is now used on a worldwide basis to raise funds for cancer research, it is, above all, a story of hope. Moving, fascinating, eloquent, and also beautiful.

41 review for Daffodil: Biography of a Flower

  1. 5 out of 5

    Hazel Edwards

    I'm not a gardener although I love flowers, so 'Daffodil: Biography of a Flower'is not a title which would usually attract me. I started reading it on the Sydney-Melbourne plane and loved the feel and look of this book and the breadth of the ideas and mind behind it. So I kept reading. It's an ideas biography, full of quotable facts about the symbolism of the daffodil. Loved the daffodil bulb anecdote about the Keesing Writers' studio in Paris where the author left the bulbs in the drawer for t I'm not a gardener although I love flowers, so 'Daffodil: Biography of a Flower'is not a title which would usually attract me. I started reading it on the Sydney-Melbourne plane and loved the feel and look of this book and the breadth of the ideas and mind behind it. So I kept reading. It's an ideas biography, full of quotable facts about the symbolism of the daffodil. Loved the daffodil bulb anecdote about the Keesing Writers' studio in Paris where the author left the bulbs in the drawer for the next writer to spring plant the hope of creativity after winter. Visually the cover, endpapers and internal photos are appealing. The font of the text is small but the rest of the design is thoughtful. Many of the daffodil visuals used in the book are familiar art works or photos. The image captions have rich information and are worth browsing more than once. But the most fascinating aspect is the scientific, botanical classifying section and how the strains are cultivated. And how obsessive are some cultivators of daffodils. The myth of Narcissus is linked in the classifying name. Daffodils symbolise hope. Helen O Neill is an excellent researcher and it shows. The text is economical but poetic. And 'Daffodil' is the kind of book I will buy as a gift for my thoughtful reader friends. Not all of them are gardeners. but at least now I know more of the history of daffodils. And this is the kind of book people keep, even when they de-clutter. A beautiful book.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Saturday's Child

    Spring has arrived so what better way to appreciate it than to read about a flower that many people associate with the season. What I enjoyed the most about this book was its wonderful illustrations.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Amanda Witt

    A great write up of a flower that comes from a bulb and its history over the years. There are now hundreds of different varieties, thanks to breeders work in crossing different flowers together.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Raynee

    A nice novel, a lovely biography.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Lorin Elizabeth

  6. 4 out of 5

    Meril

  7. 4 out of 5

    Rae

  8. 4 out of 5

    Bettina Deda

  9. 4 out of 5

    Kayla Pratt

  10. 5 out of 5

    goodreader

  11. 5 out of 5

    Natalie Bruce

  12. 5 out of 5

    L C

  13. 4 out of 5

    Em&M

  14. 5 out of 5

    Rose Bradley

  15. 4 out of 5

    Molly Vaughan

  16. 5 out of 5

    Mills College Library

    584.34 O5872 2016

  17. 5 out of 5

    Madilina

  18. 4 out of 5

    Melanie

  19. 5 out of 5

    Pix

  20. 5 out of 5

    Laura

  21. 5 out of 5

    Alison Stegert

  22. 5 out of 5

    Griflet

  23. 4 out of 5

    The Librarian OT

  24. 5 out of 5

    Becky B

  25. 5 out of 5

    Aaron

  26. 4 out of 5

    Emma

  27. 4 out of 5

    Snitterfield

  28. 4 out of 5

    Isabella

  29. 4 out of 5

    Eliza

  30. 5 out of 5

    Corrina Ramsay

  31. 5 out of 5

    Ros

  32. 5 out of 5

    Emma

  33. 5 out of 5

    Suzanne

  34. 4 out of 5

    Mags

  35. 4 out of 5

    Ellen

  36. 4 out of 5

    Ann Bauer

  37. 4 out of 5

    Guillermo

  38. 4 out of 5

    Alison Hall

  39. 5 out of 5

    Margaryta

  40. 5 out of 5

    Mahmoud Anwar

  41. 5 out of 5

    Lia

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