Botanophilia in Eighteenth-Century France: The Spirit of the by R.L. Williams

By R.L. Williams

The publication describes the recommendations that enabled botany, within the Eighteenth century, to become an self sustaining technological know-how, autonomous from drugs and herbalism. This encompassed the advance of a competent procedure for plant class and the discovery of a nomenclature that may be universally utilized and understood. the foremost that enabled Linnaeus to plot his category procedure used to be the invention of the sexuality of vegetation. The publication, that is meant for the knowledgeable basic reader, proceeds to demonstrate what number elements of French existence have been permeated by way of this revolution in botany among approximately 1760 to 1815, a botanophilia occasionally inflated into botanomania. The reader should still emerge with a clearer figuring out of what the Enlightenment really used to be unlike a few well known second-hand rules today.

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His complete departure from the essentialism in Linnaean scholasticism is unmistakable. 29 A description ofAdanson's 58 natural plant families occupied the second volume ofhis immense work, preceded bya summation of them in seven pages as a useful introduction. He readily accepted natural groups previously described by other authors, induding 20 ofLinnaeus's 68 natural groups, but testing them against the detailed information he had previouslyassembled. And he did not hesitate to establish new families where he found the need.

If myworkhas any merit, it is owed to hirn. What I shall say in the book, relating the strawberries to the genus and to the family in which Nature seems to place them, has been learned entirely from hirn. "14 Duchesne stated further that he had had his experiment repeated by plantings at the Petit Trianon in the garden "supervised by Monsieur de Jussieu" and in the garden of other interested people. Even if such statements again fai! to specity the aurhor of the hypo thesis, its mere statement from that locale surely suggests that the probable descent ofspecies from a common ancestor was already in the minds of the earliest practitioners of the natural method.

9 Duchesne, Manuel de botanique, p. xvi. " Taxon 22 (May 1973): 211-214. 11 Desjardins, Le Petit Trianon, pp. 20-25. 36-Botanophilia in I8th-Century France: The Spirit 0/ the Enlightenment remains possible that the variations were simple mistakes made by the gardeners charged with the transplanting. Yet, as we have Duchesne's assurance that Bernard had reviewed the sequence of families in manuscript, may we not assurne that Bernard had been engaged in revisions after 1759, knowing his depiction of the natural sequence was imperfect?

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