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Of Cyder And Sallets: The Hortulan Saints And The Garden Of Cyrus

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Chapter Summary

The almost overwhelming array of vegetable quincunxes in this chapter displays Thomas Browne's wide botanical learning, a practical expertise which leads him away from the subtle quincuncial order and into a substantial digression on the embryology of seeds. Browne?s paradise is introduced with a date: he chose to sign his dedicatory preface to The Garden of Cyrus on May Day (1 May) 1658, and he could hardly have selected a more verdant or irrepressible holiday to which to attach the essay?s generative vigour. The Garden of Cyrus?s subject opens with a reference to Persian orchards. It is clearly cognate with the orchard and garden tracts which were so abundant at mid-century. As deeply unlike the orchard manuals or hortulan proposals as it is, The Garden of Cyrus is an explicit paradise tract.

Keywords: hortulan saints; Persian orchard; The Garden of Cyrus; Thomas Browne's paradise



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