Clandestine Marriage: Botany and Romantic Culture

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JHU Press, Nov 16, 2012 - Literary Criticism - 400 pages
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Romanticism was a cultural and intellectual movement characterized by discovery, revolution, and the poetic as well as by the philosophical relationship between people and nature. Botany sits at the intersection where romantic scientific and literary discourses meet. Clandestine Marriage explores the meaning and methods of how plants were represented and reproduced in scientific, literary, artistic, and material cultures of the period.

Theresa M. Kelley synthesizes romantic debates about taxonomy and morphology, the contemporary interest in books and magazines devoted to plant study and images, and writings by such authors as Mary Wollstonecraft and Anna Letitia Barbauld. Period botanical paintings of flowers are reproduced in vibrant color, bringing her argument and the romantics' passion for plants to life.

In addition to exploring botanic thought and practice in the context of British romanticism, Kelley also looks to the German philosophical traditions of Kant, Hegel, and Goethe and to Charles Darwin’s reflections on orchids and plant pollination. Her interdisciplinary approach allows a deeper understanding of a time when exploration of the natural world was a culture-wide enchantment.

-- Alan John Bewell, University of Toronto
 

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Contents

1 Introduction
1
2 Botanical Matters
17
3 Botanys Publics and Privates
52
4 Botanizing Women
90
5 Clares Commonable Plants
126
Malas Garden A Caribbean Interlude
159
6 Reading Matter and Paint
162
A Romantic Garden Shelley on Vitality and Decay
210
7 Restless Romantic Plants and Philosophers
216
8 Conclusion
246
Notes
263
Bibliography
299
Index
325
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About the author (2012)

Theresa M. Kelley is the Marjorie and Lorin Tiefenthaler Professor of English at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. She is the author of Reinventing Allegory.

-- Sandra Knapp

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