Botany, sexuality and women's writing, 1760-1830

From modest shoot to forward plant

By Sam George

Botany, sexuality and women's writing, 1760-1830


  • Hardcover

Book Information

  • Format: Paperback
  • ISBN: 978-0-7190-8845-2
  • Pages: 272
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £15.99
  • Published Date: October 2012
  • BIC Category: Literature, United Kingdom, Great Britain, Literature: history & criticism, Literary theory, Ireland, SOCIAL SCIENCE / Women's Studies, LITERARY CRITICISM / European / English, Irish, Scottish, Welsh, Society & social sciences / Gender studies: women, Literature & literary studies / Literary theory


In this fascinating study, Samantha George explores the cultivation of the female mind and the feminised discourse of botanical literature in eighteenth-century Britain. In particular, she discusses British women's engagement with the Swedish botanist, Carl Linnaeus, and his unsettling discovery of plant sexuality.

Previously ignored primary texts of an extraordinary nature are rescued from obscurity and assigned a proper place in the histories of science, eighteenth-century literature, and women's writing. The result is groundbreaking: the author explores nationality and sexuality debates in relation to botany and charts the appearance of a new literary stereotype, the sexually precocious female botanist. She uncovers an anonymous poem on Linnaean botany, handwritten in the eighteenth century, and subsequently traces the development of a new genre of women's writing - the botanical poem with scientific notes.

The book is indispensable reading for all scholars of the eighteenth century, especially those interested in Romantic women's writing, or the relationship between literature and science.


List of figures
1. 'The Sweet Flowers that Smile in the Walk of Man': floral femininity and female education
2. 'Unveiling the mysteries of vegetation': botany and the feminine
3. Sex, class and order in Flora's army
4. Forward plants and wanton women: botany and sexual anxiety in the late eighteenth century
5. 'Botany in an English dress': British flora and the 'fair daughters of Albion'
Appendices: Botanical poems by women


Samantha George teaches eighteenth-century and Romantic period literature in the Department of English Literature at the University of Sheffield

Botany, sexuality and women's writing, 1760-1830

By Sam George

Paperback £15.99 / $23.95

Hardcover £85.00 / $130.00

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