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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter November 18, 2021

Trees in the landscape: orchard trees in a 17th-century French dictionary

  • Geoffrey Williams
From the journal Lexicographica


The 17th century was a time of change in both agriculture and architecture as both nobility and newly rich bourgeois sought to embellish country residences with gardens and orchards. Not only were new plants arriving from overseas, but gardening was being revolutionised by the likes of Le Nôtre, de la Quintinie and the lesser known Fatio. This was reflected in the Dictionnaire universel de Antoine Furetière, the first genuinely encyclopaedic dictionary. This paper starts by introducing the LandLex initiative, pan-European synchronic and diachronic collaborative analyses of simple words concerning the landscape in historical dictionaries. We then look at a selected number of orchard trees and their fruit in two editions of the Dictionnaire universel: the first edition of 1690 and that revised by Basnage de Beauval in 1701. To an extent, Furetière applied a model for classifying trees and fruit that can be extracted by analysis. Some entries went into excessive detail as those of pear, a highly fashionable fruit at the time. One major difference between the two is Basnage’s move from a single author approach to the use of field experts in certain areas, amongst which botany. Much was simply carried over, but when Dr Régis, Basnage’s expert in medicine and natural history, deemed an entry of scientific interest it was given a rewrite with new background texts being cited, thereby widening our vision of developing 17th-century science.

Online erschienen: 2021-11-18
Erschienen im Druck: 2021-11-12

© 2021 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston

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