Linnaeus in letters and the cultivation of the female mind: "Botany in an English dress"
In the eighteenth century many botanical texts were specifically addressed to the female sex. The language and arguments of botany, centring around reproduction and sexuality, experience and science, classification and order, introspective solitude and public debate, become inextricably implicated in arguments about women’s intellectual and moral faculties and their general social status. This trend was to continue well into the nineteenth century as gender specific titles such as John Lindley’s Ladies’ Botany (1834-1837) and Botany for Ladies by Jane Loudon (1842) illustrate, but significant changes occurred along the way. This article will attempt to unveil some of the underlying patterns that involve the cultivation of eighteenth-century women and the feminised discourse of botanical literature. [opening paragraph]