By Theresa M. Kelley
Romanticism used to be a cultural and highbrow circulate characterised via discovery, revolution, and the poetic in addition to by means of the philosophical courting among humans and nature. Botany sits on the intersection the place romantic clinical and literary discourses meet. Clandestine Marriage explores the that means and techniques of ways crops have been represented and reproduced in medical, literary, inventive, and fabric cultures of the interval.
Theresa M. Kelley synthesizes romantic debates approximately taxonomy and morphology, the modern curiosity in books and magazines dedicated to plant learn and photographs, and writings via such authors as Mary Wollstonecraft and Anna Letitia Barbauld. interval botanical work of vegetation are reproduced in brilliant colour, bringing her argument and the romantics' ardour for vegetation to life.
In addition to exploring botanic idea and perform within the context of British romanticism, Kelley additionally appears to be like to the German philosophical traditions of Kant, Hegel, and Goethe and to Charles Darwin’s reflections on orchids and plant pollination. Her interdisciplinary strategy permits a deeper knowing of a time whilst exploration of the flora and fauna was once a culture-wide appeal.
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Additional resources for Clandestine Marriage: Botany and Romantic Culture
Jussieu determined plant membership in families by tracking the traits shared by species within each genus in that family and, within each genus, a smaller set of traits said to be common to all plants in a given species. These traits were to be identified, not imposed, by tracking leading familial resemblances that might be quite visible, as in the Umbelliferae, a plant family known for its umbrella-like stem and leaf structure, or minute, as in the triggering anatomy of many orchis species that were assigned to a genus of the large orchid family.
These included moments in which taxonomists or commentators speculated about whether a class or species might be related to animals taxonomically or in terms of reproductive mechanisms or, as they were typically called, contrivances—a word that nicely points up the notion that plants may appear to contrive their mode of reproduction; whether an existing species might be undone b o t a n i c a l m a t t e r s 27 by the discovery of a new plant; the taxonomic problem of monsters or aberrant, unclassifiable forms; and the status of singular plants within a species.
This criticism rehearses a by now familiar pair of objections to the Linnaean system: first that it is more valuable to recognize natural groups of plants—so designated according to whatever morphological principle seemed to predominate in their grouping—than it is to privilege, taxonomically speaking, sexual organs like the anthers, part of the structure of the stamen or stamina. Ondaatje also noted that Linnaeus’s followers had also abolished his twenty-third class, Polygamia, “and very properly so,” presumably because this class features plants that are, except for the presence of bisexual (= hermaphrodite) and unisexual (male or female) flowers on the same plant, highly dissimilar.
Clandestine Marriage: Botany and Romantic Culture by Theresa M. Kelley