Since humans first walked the earth, folklore has been filled with flowers and herbs used for secret communication. Ophelia to Laertes: “These rosemary, that's for remembrance, pray love....remember...” (Hamlet Act 4, Scene 5.) Caxton General Manager Dan Crawford's talk will include (1) the truth about repressed, boring 18th century Turkish harem life, with its romantic stories of escape and secret code of flowers, (2) 19th century Britain's embrace of flower language, allowing a restrained Victorian to communicate ardent feelings in a veiled way, (3) the huge part played in this bit of history by a truly incredible 18th century British woman, Lady Mary Wortley Montagu and her graphic published work: Turkish Embassy Letters. Other stories involve Alexander Pope, Queen Victoria, Edgar Allen Poe, Jean Auguste Ingres, Agatha Christie, FTD, and the 1945 Dutch shipment to Canada of thousands of red tulip bulbs: (“I am on fire with love for you”).
c/o The Newberry Library60 W. Walton StreetChicago, IL 60610
Tel: +1 (312) 255-3710