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Burdock [Hardcover]

Janet Malcolm
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
Price: 35.00 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

1 Aug 2008
Over the course of three summers in New England, Malcolm gathered leaves of the burdock plant, a "large rank weed" with medicinal properties "that grows along roadsides and in waste places and around derelict buildings". Influenced by Richard Avedon's unsparing portraits of famous people, Malcolm is drawn to "uncelebrated leaves" on which "life has left its mark" through the ravages of time, weather, insects, or blight. In her introduction, Malcolm reminds us that writers like Chekhov and Hawthorne have used burdock "to denote ruin and desolation". And yet, for Malcolm, Burdock is an homage to the botanical illustrators who recognized "the gorgeousness of the particulars of the things that are alive in the world". This book has exquisite production values.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 64 pages
  • Publisher: Yale University Press; First Edition edition (1 Aug 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0300128614
  • ISBN-13: 978-0300128611
  • Product Dimensions: 31 x 26 x 2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 108,206 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


"... a photographic meditation ... on a very rank weed, with page after elegantly produced page ... [a] singular book." -- Ruth Pavey, Hampstead and Highgate Express, 20th November 2008

"There are some books that have a mystery and beauty all their own ... Such is the case with Burdock."
-- Robert Leiter, The Jewish Exponent, March 2009


"There are some books that have a mystery and beauty all their own ... Such is the case with Burdock."

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Interestng approach to still life 14 Mar 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is a book of Burdock leaves at various stages of decay. It is interesting as it displays the beauty of form of a plant that is usually considered a weed.

The Burdock has much symbolism in western art, over the last few hundered years, and with this in mind it is interesting to see a contemporary approach to the subject.

Recommended for lovers of still life photography and wild plants.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Burdock by Janet Malcolm 3 Dec 2011
By PhilBe
As an amateur photographer of wild plants I am sympathetic to the idea behind this project and was curious to see it. At the very reduced price I paid (5 + P&P) I was not sorry I bought it. It is beautifully produced and a pleasure to handle. Most of the images are satisfying aesthetically, but there were a number that took the 'warts and all' approach a tad too far for my taste.
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Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  1 review
7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Portraits of Leaves 14 Oct 2008
By T. Voima Oy - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Some books are more than information, or pictures, or words on paper. This book is a real work of art...
Evocations of Avedon, Blossfelt, botanical illustrations...medicinal herbals...Associations of weeds and Velcro...Intimations of mortality--not the lush and vibrant greens of the young burdock, these damaged leaves have a different beauty, more subtle and profound.
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