The body and botany: “the first step toward the brothel”

King, Helen (2022). The body and botany: “the first step toward the brothel”. In: Santos Pinheiro, Cristina; Silva, Gabriel A. F.; Fonseca, Rui Carlos; Mota, Bernardo Machado and Pinheiro, Joaquim eds. Gynecia: Studies on Gynaecology in Ancient, Medieval and Early-modern Texts. Porto: Edições Afrontamento, pp. 11–26.



From menstruation as “the flowers” to the young girl on the brink of sexual experience as “blooming”, the use of floral imagery for the female body has a long history, crossing both medical and popular texts and covering both the processes of generation and the anatomy of the female organs. By concentrating on three self-help texts from the late nineteenth century, this paper examines the different uses of floral imagery written by women, for women.

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