Sam George
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This introduction presents an overview of the key concepts discussed in the subsequent chapters of this book. The book describes the British women writers' engagement with Linnaean methodology and Linnaean ideas. It explores women's problematic relationship to Enlightenment culture through an investigation of contemporary literary analogies between women and flowers. The book investigates the initiation of a process of feminisation of botany in Jean-Jacques Rousseau's and Priscilla Wakefield's letters on botany; these were literary and educational texts addressed specifically to women. It presents Erasmus Darwin's explicit discussion of sexuality related to the aura of illicit sexuality that had surrounded Sir Joseph Banks. Popular botanical texts rigorously suppressed the sexual aspect, so crucial to the scientific advance made by Carl von Linné, or Linnaeus.

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Botany, sexuality and women’s writing 1760–1830

From modest shoot to forward plant


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