A Gathering of Flowers from Shakespeare


142 pages
Contains Index
ISBN 0-88984-290-6
DDC 822.3'3




Reviewed by W.J. Keith

W.J. Keith is a retired professor of English at the University of Toronto and author A Sense of Style: Studies in the Art of Fiction in English-Speaking Canada.


This book reproduces more than 60 engravings by Gerard Brender а
Brandis of flowers mentioned in the works of Shakespeare, with learned
but accessible notes relating both to Shakespeare and botany by F. David
Hoeniger, a well-known Shakespeare scholar. Brender а Brandis produced
a highly limited edition of the book in 1997 on his own printing press.
This Porcupine’s Quill edition makes it available to a wider audience.

Although it sounds condescending to say so, this is an ideal bedside or
coffee-table book. It is intended not so much to be read sequentially
from cover to cover as dipped into. Brender а Brandis is well-known for
the delicacy and detail of his work. Each engraving deserves careful
attention, and Hoeniger’s adjacent comments provide useful context.

There is something delightfully old-fashioned about this kind of book
(such compilations were particularly popular in the Victorian period),
but we desperately need such books in our excessively hurried age.
“What is this life if, full of care, / We have no time to stand and
stare?” asked the open-eyed early-20th-century poet W.H. Davies. A
good, if naive, question. We similarly need to stop and look, and A
Gathering of Flowers enables us to do so. Anyone with a genuine interest
in the traditional past will delight in this attractively produced


Brender à Brandis, Gerard., “A Gathering of Flowers from Shakespeare,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed July 16, 2024, https://cbra.library.utoronto.ca/items/show/14974.