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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.

David W. Gutzke

a female as Chair who championed the idea of brewers introducing beers specifically targeting women as customers. This misguided advice ignored previous failed efforts of brewers to market such a gender-specific beverage.46 With this advertising culture, beer marketers thus continued to insinuate into the female mind an unmistakably negative view of beer drinking. Fully two-thirds of female drinkers surveyed in 2003 said that they regarded real ale unenthusiastically because of its links with unfeminine behaviour.47 In response to the North West Pub & Beer

in Women drinking out in Britain since the early twentieth century
Protection of animals in nineteenth-century Britain
Author: Diana Donald

This book explores for the first time women’s leading roles in animal protection in nineteenth-century Britain. Victorian women founded pioneering bodies such as the Battersea Dogs’ Home, the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, and the first anti-vivisection society. They intervened directly to stop abuses, promoted animal welfare, and schooled the young in humane values via the Band of Mercy movement. They also published literature that, through strongly argued polemic or through imaginative storytelling, notably in Anna Sewell’s Black Beauty, showed man’s unjustifiable cruelty to animals. In all these enterprises, they encountered opponents who sought to discredit and thwart their efforts by invoking age-old notions of female ‘sentimentality’ or ‘hysteria’, which supposedly needed to be checked by ‘masculine’ pragmatism, rationality and broadmindedness, especially where men’s field sports were concerned. To counter any public perception of extremism, conservative bodies such as the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals for long excluded women from executive roles, despite their crucial importance as donors and grassroots activists. However, women’s growing opportunities for public work in philanthropic projects and the development of militant feminism, running in parallel with campaigns for the vote, gave them greater boldness in expressing their distinctive view of animal–human relations, in defiance of patriarchy. In analysing all these historic factors, the book unites feminist perspectives, especially constructions of gender, with the fast-developing field of animal–human history.

Laura Kelly

dispensary. She stated that there had been several occasions when she had heard women patients from the lower classes stating their relief at being able to tell their problems to a lady doctor.32 However, despite claims that women’s gender made them considerably more sympathetic as doctors, opponents tended to argue that the feminine brain was less suited to the study of medicine than its male counterpart.33 The British Medical Journal in 1870 questioned whether the female mind was intelligent enough for medical study.34 Those arguing against women in medicine implied that

in Irish women in medicine, c.1880s–1920s
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Women and the act of reading
Richard De Ritter

sociability. Instead of encouraging solipsistic fantasy, the reading of ‘well chosen books’ helps women to fulfil their duties as Introduction 5 wives and mothers. It is a thoroughly domestic activity, safely located within the ‘home’. Ostensibly, More’s intention is to remove the reader from social circulation and to locate her within a strictly domestic context. This is not to say, however, that the woman reader is imagined to be an apolitical figure. As I suggested above, within Chirol’s Enquiry the perceived porosity of the female mind fuels a vaguely prurient

in Imagining women readers, 1789–1820
Floral femininity and female education
Sam George

Cultivation of the mind THE INTERPLAY between the culture of botany and the cultivation of female minds during the Enlightenment in Britain is my wider theme; it provides the context for my unravelling of the dynamics of the encounter between Linnaeus’s Sexual System and the lives of British women. Rousseau proves crucial to this discussion as an educationalist and botanist

in Botany, sexuality and women’s writing 1760–1830
Books, bodies and the sensuous materials of the mind
Richard De Ritter

marketbased models of identity, locating this act of emancipation within the wider discursive context of the French Revolution debate. In an essay entitled ‘On the Influence of Authority, and Custom of the Female Mind and Manners’, Hays’s demands that ‘degraded woman’ be restored ‘to the glory of rationality’ are inflected with a self-conscious radicalism.70 Drawing upon the vocabulary of prorevolutionary writers such as Thomas Paine and Wollstonecraft, she denounces the ‘absurd despotism’ that has, ‘with more than gothic barbarity, enslaved the female mind’.71 Strikingly

in Imagining women readers, 1789–1820
The work of reading
Richard De Ritter

offspring of indolence. More’s account of the ‘feeble tone’ of the weakened mind derives from the medical discourse of authors such as George Cheyne who, writing against the ‘English Malady’, identifies ‘a firm fibre tone’ as ‘the optimal condition’ of the body.17 Applying Cheyne’s logic to the female mind, More proposes a cure which identifies ‘invigorating reading’ as a kind of tonic, capable of reenergising the enervated minds of the nation’s women. This restorative dynamic is also at work in Edmund Burke’s A Philosophical Enquiry into the Origins of our Ideas of the

in Imagining women readers, 1789–1820
Abstract only
Sam George

. These botanical texts were often reinterpreted in significant ways by women, but there had already been a distinctive female orientation of the texts by the male writers themselves. Hence I am concerned with a wider understanding of the discourse and practice of ‘female botany’ than Shteir. This study will explore the cultivation of the female mind and its implications for the theories of the feminised

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

, gendered as masculine and feminine.4 Thinking women of this period were subject to prevailing assumptions about the weaknesses of the female mind – a mind that was considered expertly adapted to the realm of polite sociable conversation but was desperately ill-equipped to deal with serious scholarly endeavour. As the author of a 1743 prescriptive volume The Lady’s Preceptor put it: ‘There are as great a Variety of Rules for Writing well, as for Talking well; the Ignorance of most of your Sex, therefore, in this Science, who generally are guilty of as many Faults as they

in Women of letters