Throughout history, some books have changed the world. They have transformed the way we see ourselves – and each other. They have inspired debate, dissent, war and revolution. They have enlightened, outraged, provoked and comforted. They have enriched lives – and destroyed them. Now Penguin brings you the works of the great thinkers, pioneers, radicals and visionaries whose ideas shook civilization and helped make us who we are.
The republication of Maurice Maeterlincks The Intelligence of Flowers, regrettably forgotten in our time, is long overdue. The introduction by Mosley is itself a gem, and contains one of the best overviews in print of writings about intelligence in Nature. Stephen Harrod Buhner, author of The Secret Teachings of Plants: The Intelligence of the Heart in the Direct Perception of Nature
The second of Maeterlincks four celebrated nature essaysalong with those on the life of the bee, ant, and termiteThe Intelligence of Flowers (1907) represents his impassioned attempt to popularize scientific knowledge for an international audience. Writing with characteristic eloquence, Maeterlinck asserts that flowers possess the power of thought without knowledge, a capacity that constitutes a form of intelligence. Appearing one hundred years after the first publication, Philip Mosleys new translation of the original French essay, and the related essay Scents, maintains the verve of Maeterlincks prose and renders it accessible to the present-day reader. This is a book for those who are excited by creative encounters between literature and science as well as current debates on the relationship of humankind to the natural world.
It would be superfluous to redraw the picture of the great systems of floral fertilization: the play of stamens and pistil, the seductiveness of scents, the appeal of harmonious and striking colors, the development of nectar, totally useless to the flower, and which it manufactures only to attract and hold the foreign liberator, the messenger of love, bee, bumblebee, fly, butterfly, moth, which must bring it the kiss of the distant, invisible, motionless lover
We could truly say that ideas come to flowers in the same way they come to us. Flowers grope in the same darkness, encounter the same obstacles and the same ill will, in the same unknown. They know the same laws, same disappointments, same slow and difficult triumphs. It seems they have our patience, our perseverance, our self-love; the same finely tuned and diversified intelligence, almost the same hopes and the same ideals. Like ourselves, they struggle against a vast indifferent force that ends by helping them. from The Intelligence of Flowers
a wonderfully enjoyable, insightful and worthwhile read
This work would be of interest to anyone excited by the remarkable process of the plant world and would expressly appeal to gardeners and flower growers. Huntia
A rare gem, written
in lyrical and accessible prose. The Times Literary Supplement
Maeterlinck is a seductive essayist
[and] writes with the same intrinsic humility that will be familiar to admirers of John Muir, Aldo Leopold, or Mary Oliver. The Boston Globe
That the intelligence of flowers provides Maeterlinck with a theory riddled with contradictionsmostly as a result of his metaphoric reasoningseems less important than the fundamental truths of the metaphors unto themselves. As a result, The Intelligence of Flowers is happily welcome once more, in this centenary reissue. San Francisco Chronicle
One of the most beloved books in American literature, Walden is must reading for any American or anyone interested in reading great literature. But for those who go there looking for reasons Thoreau became a recluse they are sure to be disappointed. Instead, reading Walden is more of a journey to the self and how that self can live in the world. This new edition has an insightful and lyrical essay introducing the text by Sam Pickering, the inspiration for the Dead Poets Society. His essay is the most provocative piece on Walden since e. B. White.