'Geranium' – new book

Friday, 12 April, 2013 - 12:45

Dr Kasia Boddy, Fitzwilliam Fellow and Director of Studies in English, has published ‘Geranium’, a cultural history tracing our changing attitude to the flower.

Today geraniums can be found throughout the world, their widespread use in food and perfume manufacture as well as floral display exemplifying the global industrialization of plant production. This book details how the amenable geranium remains a plant that many love and others love to hate, but above all it is a flower that is seldom ignored.

'Kasia Boddy does a wonderful job of selecting the most delicious literary cuttings for her scholarly book on the lovable plant and its place in our culture,' wrote Helen Brown in The Daily Telegraph. 'In 1879, William Morris attacked "over-artificiality" in horticulture, and claimed the vermilion geranium was proof "even flowers can be thoroughly ugly". Oscar Wilde agreed, musing that were he to be reincarnated then "perhaps for my sins I shall be made a red geranium", a flower with "no soul". But it's impossible to agree with Wilde as you enjoy the illustrations in Boddy’s book, from earnest 17th-century botanical sketches to 21st-century electron microscope images of the plant’s pollen.'

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Fellows in Article: 
Dr Kasia Boddy