26.2 | Michael Marder and Patricia Vieira

Writing Phytophilia: Philosophers and Poets as Lovers of Plants

This essay considers the effects of phytophilia (the love of plants) in philosophy and in literature through an analysis of texts by French thinker Jean-Jacques Rousseau and by Brazilian poet Manoel de Barros. In his relation to vegetal beings, the phytophile philosopher grapples with something as elusive as sophia, namely the process of plant growth. Such an encounter radically changes the philosopher in that it opens his thought to the flux of becoming and metamorphosis, inaccessible from the standpoint of Western metaphysics. Like philosophers, phytophile poets are transformed by their love of plants. Through literary imagination, they can portray the being-in-the-world of plants, an experience that, in turn, will profoundly impact their poetic language and praxis.