Monday, October 6, 2014

Photo of the Day: Shakespeare Garden in Brooklyn

Such are the many, many glories of the Brooklyn Botanic Garden that, though I have already used several photos from when I visited this borough gem back in June, I have hardly exhausted the supply. One of its neat little sections is the Shakespeare Garden, which contains more than 80 plants mentioned in the plays and poems of William Shakespeare.

Unlike, say, John Milton, who sometimes ascribed flowers to the wrong season of the year, The Bard is invariably accurate in his references to plants, and never drags in one superfluously, according to the 19th-century German critic Karl Elze in William Shakespeare: A Literary Biography. Elze chuckles at how references in the plays have been plumbed to demonstrate “Shakespeare’s intimate acquaintance with the most various branches of human activity, from seamanship to a printer’s work.” But the multiple references to plants in the plays imply that, at very least, he was an avid gardener, and that somehow in his youth, he had strong reason to learn about so many plants.

In any case, the Shakespeare Garden offers a memorable way of teaching about this most extraordinary theatrical imagination.

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