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From modest shoot to forward plant
Author: Sam George

The stereotype of the forward, sexually precocious female botanist made its first appearance in literature in the turbulent revolutionary climate of the 1790s. The emergence of this figure illustrates both the contemporary appeal, particularly to women, of the Linnaean Sexual System of botanical classification, and the anxieties surrounding female modesty that it provoked. This book explores the cultivation of the female mind and the feminised discourse of botanical literature in eighteenth-century Britain. In particular, it discusses British women's engagement with the Swedish botanist, Carl Linnaeus, and his unsettling discovery of plant sexuality. The book also explores nationality and sexuality debates in relation to botany and charts the appearance of a new literary stereotype, the sexually precocious female botanist. It investigates the cultivation of the female mind and its implications for the theories of the feminised discourse of botanical literature. The book also investigates 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. Linnaean classification exemplified order, making botany an ideal discipline for young British women in the eighteenth century. Erasmus Darwin's explicit discussion of sexuality related to the aura of illicit sexuality that had surrounded Sir Joseph Banks. Richard Polwhele appropriates Collinsonia's image of the promiscuous female to allude to Mary Wollstonecraft's sexuality, drawing on forward plants in Darwin and Thomas Mathias. The book finally looks at early nineteenth-century debates and demonstrates how scientific botany came into conflict with the craft of floristry.

Sam George

Linnaean classification – ‘her system’ – has not yet been introduced in Great Britain: She spoke much in praise of good order & laws She went round the globe, called on every nation Haranguing at large upon civilisation Her own reputation in Sweden she hit on

in Botany, sexuality and women’s writing 1760–1830
Botany and the feminine
Sam George

for many women. It upheld notions of female propriety and came to be regarded as the most authoritative introduction to botany. A handbook with notes on Linnaean classification, ‘Withering’s Botany’, as it became known through several reprints, included directions for the drying and preservation of specimens of plants, a dictionary of botanical terms and a catalogue of useful botanical books. His

in Botany, sexuality and women’s writing 1760–1830
Helen Cowie

privileged those parts of a plant or animal which were essential for accurate Linnaean classification, but omitted details that were superfluous to this purpose – such as the roots of plants. They also stripped American species of their cultural significance, suppressing overt references to their virtues and uses. 32 The director of the Real Jardín Botánico, Casimiro Gómez Ortega

in Conquering nature in Spain and its empire, 1750–1850
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Sam George

.2). Botany, we are reminded in the preface, ‘is by no means a proper amusement for the more polished sex’ (xii). The botanising activities of Veronica’s maid, Anna, suggest that the fashion for women’s botany has, deplorably, even reached the servant classes. Anna has been learning something of Linnaean classification and she later confides to the aptly named Billy Sample that ‘all ladies who know anything

in Botany, sexuality and women’s writing 1760–1830
Mobility and erasure in the art of Flinders’s Australian voyage, 1801– 3
Sarah Thomas

project of Linnaean classification. During and following the voyage an enormous number of pencil sketches and subsequent watercolours, prints and oil paintings were produced to assist with the mapping and classifying missions of the voyage. The drawings of Westall and Bauer are shown here to function as Bruno Latour’s ‘immutable mobiles’, in which the stability, mobility and combinability of material gathered and inscribed ‘in the field’ are significant. 9 Latour argues that it is the aggregation of such materials – their collectability, combinability, stability and

in Empire and mobility in the long nineteenth century
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Agricultural improvement and public opinion
Allan Blackstock

, which was actually the weed ‘red robin’. Richardson countered by sending specimens which his own cows relished.48 Young relayed these to Sir Joseph Banks, who deferred any ‘opinion relative to the much controverted question of Fiorin Grass’ without more evidence, but thought the cuttings were probably red robin, ‘a most mischievous weed in corn’. Banks was keeper of Kew Gardens, London’s equivalent to Glasnevin, and had a keen interest in botany.49 He identified the grass under its Linnaean classification as Agrostis stolonifera but believed its stolon

in Science, politics and society in early nineteenth-century Ireland
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An introduction
David Lambert and Peter Merriman

Ferdinand Bauer. The chapter considers not only the status of the peripatetic artist as eyewitness, but also examines the mobility of visual culture itself. In this way, it explores some of the contradictions between mobility and place for how the art of exploration is understood. Indeed, while Westall’s coastal profiles contributed to the British Admiralty’s cartographic project and Bauer’s sketches assisted in the totalising project of Linnaean classification, their mobilities were at odds with the practicalities of producing works of art and, more significantly, with

in Empire and mobility in the long nineteenth century
Helen Cowie

that many of the specimens he found in the Indian market were unfit for ornithological study, since ‘most of them were partially plucked and many were brought without their feet’ 45 – essential for accurate Linnaean classification. As for Mieg’s Indian fraudsters, they palpably subordinated scientific precision to pecuniary gain. The author of Paseo dutifully alerted

in Conquering nature in Spain and its empire, 1750–1850
Botany and sexual anxiety in the late eighteenth century
Sam George

announcing that she will not appear until the Lichfield scholars have popularised Linnaean classification in Britain and with Jove agreeing to delay the onset of spring until this time: “My subjects will thus be employed with decorum “And till this is done Sir I’ll not march before them Jove

in Botany, sexuality and women’s writing 1760–1830