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THE TULIP

Pavord, Anna

246 ratings by Goodreads
ISBN 10: 0747542961 / ISBN 13: 9780747542964
Published by Bloomsbury, London, 1999
Hardcover
From Rare Book Cellar (Pomona, NY, U.S.A.)

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Very Good+ in a Very Good+ dust jacket. ; 9.61 X 7.64 X 1.73 inches; 448 pages. Bookseller Inventory # 73318

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Bibliographic Details

Title: THE TULIP

Publisher: Bloomsbury, London

Publication Date: 1999

Binding: Hardcover

Edition: First Edition; First Printing.

About this title

Synopsis:

The Tulip is not a gardening book. It is the story of a flower that has made men mad. Greed, desire, anguish, devotion have all played their part in the development of the tulip from a wild flower of the Asian steppes to the world-wide phenomenon it is today. The US alone imports three thousand million tulip bulbs each year, Germany and France even more. Why did the tulip dominate so many lives through so many centuries in so many countries? The author, a self-confessed tulipomaniac, has spent six years looking for answers. No other flower has ever carried so much baggage; it charts political upheavals, illuminates social behaviour, mirrors economic booms and busts, plots the ebb and flow of religious persecution. Roaming through Asia, India, Russia and the Ottoman Empire, the author tells how the tulip arrived from Turkey and took the whole of Western Europe by storm. In the petals of the exquisite English florists' tulips, still exhibited in competition by members of the Wakefield Tulip Society in Yorkshire, runs the blood of flowers first grown by John Evelyn in the middle of the seventeenth century. Sumptuously illustrated from a wide range of sources, the book also features descriptions of eighty wild-species tulips and several hundred garden varieties. This beautifully produced and irresistible volume will become a bible, a unique source book, a universal gift book and a joy to all who possess it. Author note: Anna Pavord is the gardening correspondent for the Independent, and the author of widely praised gardening books including The Flowering Year and Gardening Companion. As well as writing for the Observer for twenty years, she has contributed to Country Life, Country Living, and Elle Decoration, and is an associate editor of Gardens Illustrated. She lives in Dorset, England, in an old rectory with a large garden that she has been developing for twenty years. Constantly experimenting with new combinations of flowers and foliage, she finds it

Review:

In an auction held in Holland in February 1637, 99 lots of tulip bulbs fetched a staggering 90,000 guilders, more than $3.5 million in today's money. Tulipomania had reached its height, and its story is told in just one of the fascinating sections of Anna Pavord's wonderful book on this most seductive of flowers.

Pavord's passion for the flower is evident from the opening pages of the book, where she tells of scrambling across the hillsides of Crete in search of an obscure, indigenous purple tulip. The story of the discovery of this tulip leads into Pavord's extraordinary history of this beautiful, enigmatic flower. As with all the best love stories, Pavord's is told from the perspective of the object of affection--in this case, the tulip--from its adoption by the Ottoman sultans of Istanbul in the 18th century to its present cultivation by the Wakefield Tulip Society.

Along the way, incredible stories of people's investments in the flower emerge, the result, as Pavord explains, of a unique feature of the tulip. Its variegated colors are produced by a small parasitic aphid, which weakens the plant but produces its gorgeous hues. The tulipomania that gripped 17th-century Europe was a form of futures trading, as people purchased tulip bulbs at increasingly inflated prices with the hope that they would flower into the most beautiful and kaleidoscopic colors imaginable. Tulip is an extraordinary book, beautifully illustrated and offering a fascinating story of our obsession with the most ephemeral of objects. Buying tulip bulbs will never be the same again. --Jerry Brotton

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