Sex, Botany and Empire

Sex, Botany and Empire

The Story of Carl Linnaeus and Joseph Banks

Book - 2003
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Blackwell North Amer
When the imperial explorer James Cook returned from his first voyage to Australia, the scandal writers mercilessly satirised the amorous exploits of his botanist, Joseph Banks, whose trousers were reportedly stolen while he was inside the tent of Queen Oberea of Tahiti.
Enlightenment botany was fraught with sexual symbolism: Carl Linnaeus's controversial new system for classifying plants was based on their sexual characteristics, and the dangerously gendered language of flowers resonated with erotic allusions. In Sweden and Britain, both imperial powers, Linnaeus and Banks ruled over their own small scientific empires, promoting botanical exploration to justify exploiting territories, peoples and natural resources. Regarding native peoples with disdain, these two scientific emperors portrayed the Arctic North and the Pacific Ocean as uncorrupted Edens enjoying a naive sexual freedom.
Patricia Fara reveals the existence, barely concealed under Banks's and Linnaecus's camouflage of noble Enlightenment, of the altogether more seedy drives to conquer, subdue and deflower in the name of the British Imperial state.

Publisher: Cambridge : Icon, 2003
Description: 168 p. : ill. ; 18 cm
ISBN: 9781840464887
Branch Call Number: 580.9 Far


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