Bloom: The Botanical Vernacular in the English Novel  

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Bloom: The Botanical Vernacular in the English Novel (2003) is a book by Amy M. King.

"Starting from the botanical crazes inspired by Linnaeus in the eighteenth century, and exploring the variations it spawned - natural history, landscape architecture, polemical battles over botany's prurience - this study offers a fresh, detailed reading of the courtship novel from Jane Austen to George Eliot and Henry James. By reanimating a cultural understanding of botany and sexuality that we have lost, it provides an entirely new and powerful account of the novel's role in scripting sexualized courtship, and illuminates how the novel and popular science together created a cultural figure, the blooming girl, that stood at the center of both fictional and scientific worlds."

First Sentence

"Examples are rife, in the late eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century novel, of girls "blooming" or "in bloom"-from Frances Burney's Evelina, whose blooming complexion attracts libertines and suitors alike, to John Cleland's Fanny Hill, whose bloom is explicitly tied to sexual initiation, to Jane Austen's Fanny Price, whose bloom corresponds with her belated debut.

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