Abstract

This essay considers the work of Mary Granville Pendarves Delany (1700–1788) from the perspectives of lesbian studies and queer theory. Delany participated in communities of intimate women friends in eighteenth-century London and Dublin. These friendships fell along a continuum from sexual intimacy to chaste devotion; the first section of this essay explores these themes in Delany's writing. Next, comparing Delany's "improvements" at Delville and Bulstrode with a tradition of erotic garden design allows us to see Delany in the act of creating three-dimensional spaces for female intimacy. Finally, the essay suggests that Delany's famous botanical illustrations form part of an English Linnaean tradition that expresses human sexual variation via representations of the reproductive life of plants.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1086-315X
Print ISSN
0013-2586
Pages
pp. 49-70
Launched on MUSE
2005-10-18
Open Access
No
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