After publishing Scent Magic, an acclaimed memoir of plants, gardens and scent, Isabel Bannerman couldn’t leave the subject alone. ‘I came across the star-nosed mole, an adorable and preposterous creature with a highly specialized sensory-motor organ, while writing about the riches of the soil kingdom … and, somewhat mole-like … as I was trying to write about the impossibility of writing effectively about smell, I began to nose around for great writers’ solutions to this problem. How and how much have writers considered the lilies of the field and how they smell. I began grazing on literature and gathering in my stores of quotes.’ In reviews of Scent Magic, Isabel was lauded for ‘putting into words what so much escapes language. With a wonderful range of reference and allusion, it’s nothing less than poetry… (Evening Standard)’. And in this anthology, with her beautifully written linking passages bringing carefully chosen quotations together with her dramatic, powerful and mysterious plant images, she evokes the scented garden through poetry and prose spanning millennia, from Ovid to Proust, Milton to George Eliot, and Emily Dickinson to Alice Oswald.
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