Books  Botany & Plant Science  Plants & Botany: General 

Sex, Botany and Empire: The Story of Carl Linnaeus and Joseph Banks

Coming Soon

Series: Icon Science

By: Patricia Fara (Author)

176 pages, 10 b/w illustrations

Icon Books

Paperback | Jul 2017 | #234644 | ISBN-13: 9781785782275
Available for pre-order: Due Jul 2017 Details
NHBS Price: £9.99 $12/€12 approx
Paperback | Nov 2004 | #148262 | ISBN: 1840465735
Temporarily out of stock: order now to get this when available Details
NHBS Price: £9.99 $12/€12 approx
Hardback | Sep 2004 | #197059 | ISBN: 0231134266
Availability: Usually dispatched within 3 days Details
NHBS Price: £17.99 $22/€21 approx

About this book

Enlightenment botany was replete with sexual symbolism – to the extent that many botanical textbooks were widely considered pornographic. Carl Linnaeus's controversial new system for classifying plants based on their sexual characteristics, as well as his use of language resonating with erotic allusions, provoked intense public debate over the morality of botanical study. And the renowned Tahitian exploits of Joseph Banks – whose trousers were reportedly stolen while he was inside the tent of Queen Oberea of Tahiti – reinforced scandalous associations with the field. Yet Linnaeus and Banks became powerful political and scientific figures who were able to promote botanical exploration alongside the exploitation of territories, peoples, and natural resources. Sex, Botany, and Empire explores the entwined destinies of these two men and how their influence served both science and imperialism.

Patricia Fara reveals how Enlightenment botany, under the veil of rationality, manifested a drive to conquer, subdue, and deflower – all in the name of British empire. Linnaeus trained his traveling disciples in a double mission – to bring back specimens for the benefit of the Swedish economy and to spread the gospel of Linnaean taxonomy. Based in London at the hub of an international exchange and correspondence network, Banks ensured that Linnaeus's ideas became established throughout the world. As the president of the Royal Society for more than forty years, Banks revolutionized British science, and his innovations placed science at the heart of trade and politics. He made it a policy to collect and control resources not only for the sake of knowledge but also for the advancement of the empire. Although Linnaeus is often celebrated as modern botany's true founder, Banks has had a greater long-term impact. It was Banks who ensured that science and imperialism flourished together, and it was he who first forged the interdependent relationship between scientific inquiry and the state that endures to this day.

"A rollicking read."
New Scientist

"Absorbing [...] Fara makes a convincing case for Banks'historical impact."
Observer

"An entertaining account of the appliance of science to the needs of empire."
Financial Times

"A series of captivating forays into his [Banks'] life and times."
– Amanda Schaffer, Bookforum

"This is one of the most amazing books that I have read recently."
– Asad R. Rahmani, Hornbill

"An entertaining book [...] readable and amusing."
– Sarah O'Malley, Northeastern Naturalist


Write a review

There are currently no reviews for this product. Be the first to review this product!


Biography

Patricia Fara is a Fellow of Clare College at the University of Cambridge, where she teaches history of science. Previous books include Newton: The Making of Genius (Macmillan, 2001) and An Entertainment for Angels (Icon, 2001).

Bestsellers in this subject

Alien Plants

NHBS Price: £27.99 £34.99 (Save £7.00) $35/€32 approx

The Kew Plant Glossary

NHBS Price: £17.99 $22/€21 approx

The Kew Tropical Plant Families Identification Handbook

NHBS Price: £19.99 $25/€23 approx

The Cabaret of Plants

NHBS Price: £9.99 $12/€12 approx

The Illustrated Dictionary of Southern African Plant Names

NHBS Price: £26.95 $34/€31 approx

VAT: GB 407 4846 44
NHBS Ltd is registered in England and Wales: 1875194