‘Fascinating material, surveyed with relish and acumen.’
By Any Other Name
A Cultural History of the RoseSimon Morley
‘Fascinating…I’ll never look at a rose in quite the same way again.’ Adrian Tinniswood
The rose is bursting with meaning. Over the centuries it has come to represent love and sensuality, deceit, death and the mystical unknown. Today the rose enjoys unrivalled popularity across the globe, ever present at life’s seminal moments.
Grown in the Middle East two thousand years ago for its pleasing scent and medicinal properties, it has become one of the most adored flowers across cultures, no longer selected by nature, but by us. The rose is well-versed at enchanting human hearts. From Shakespeare’s sonnets to Bulgaria’s Rose Valley to the thriving rose trade in Africa and the Far East, via museums, high fashion, Victorian England and Belle Epoque France, we meet an astonishing array of species and hybrids of remarkably different provenance.
This is the story of a hardy, thorny flower and how, by beauty and charm, it came to seduce the world.
‘Fascinating. Morley moves effortlessly from ancient Greece and Rome to the latest research in neurobiology, taking in alchemy and Pre-Raphaelite art, Modernist poetry and the Grateful Dead along the way. I’ll never look at a rose in quite the same way again.’
‘Morley’s book is, in part, the story of how humans came to raise roses so consistently and abundantly that we demand them even in freezing February. First, though, By Any Other Name recounts the love affair with a flower that drove us to want to do that in the first place.’
‘An intellectual and artistic journey… digging around the history of how roses have become entangled with human life. By Any Other Name will be a source of inspiration for us.’
‘Quite brilliant… A powerful reminder of how humanity simply cannot exist without the support of nature’s beauty represented by this simple shrub.’
‘By Any Other Name…explores the many facets that make the rose stand out from the rest. Morley expertly crafts the story of the rose from its humble beginnings to its present reality.’
‘From the etymology of its name to the breeders’ search for perfection, via its role in poetry, prose and art, rose growers with a penchant for learning will find this a satisfying read.’