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

Front Cover
Icon, 2003 - 168 pages
2 Reviews
When 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.But Enlightenment botany was fraught with sexual symbolism. And in Sweden and Britain, both imperial powers, Banks and Carl Linneaus 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, free from the shackles of Western sexual mores.Patricia Fara reveals how, barely concealed under Banks' and Linneaus' camouflage of noble Enlightenment, were the altogether more seedy drives to conquer, subdue and deflower - in the name of the British imperial State.

From inside the book

What people are saying - Write a review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - tyranustyranus - LibraryThing

Quick read about imperial science and botany. I knew nothing of Joseph Banks before reading this. Had never heard of him, in fact. Shortcomings aside, he was a very important figure in the realm of ... Read full review

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

User Review  - Nick Jones - Goodreads

Short and breezy, but well-researched account of the effects of Joseph Banks' engagement with Linnaean plant-hunting and classifying. For one thing, Australia was colored red on the map for two ... Read full review


The Three Ss
The Scientific Swede
The British Botanist

6 other sections not shown

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

Bibliographic information