Beatrix Potter

#1

I had no idea that it was Beatrice Potter who figured out how fungi reproduce! Her drawings are just amazing, and she did some serious research but met outright hostility from a bunch of blatant misogynists at the Linnaean Society.

New biography now on the shelves. http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0312377967/

This one deffo goes on the To Read list!

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#2

I knew about Potter and her mycology, and how she was badly treated by the establishment. It’s one of the things that really annoyed me about the Renee Zellweger film - she was portrayed so soppily. There was no way the Potter on screen ever had any interest in fungi, let alone the ability to do cutting edge research on them.

Actually, it ties in quite nicely with your complaints about the ‘Lady Science’ forward. Instead of showing her to be a woman who had an interest in science the film-makers completely removed that aspect of her life - “it’s a symptom of male domination of the historic narrative”. They seemingly either couldn’t cope with the idea that a woman could be both a story-teller/artist and a skilled mycologist, or else they did the thing that seems so common which is arguing that ‘the audience won’t be interested’ as a proxy of saying ‘we’re not interested’ and so left it out.

The book sounds really good though. Guess I’ll have to add it to my ever-increasing pile!

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#3

I’d forgotten about the film! It does completely erase that part of her life. There’s not even a hint of it, iirc.

I think the most likely reasoning was “‘the audience won’t be interested’ as a proxy of saying ‘we’re not interested’”, which is disturbingly common amongst media folks. If they don’t grok it, they assume no one else will either.

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#4

I just watched this Channel 4 documentary, Beatrix Potter with Patricia Routledge. It’s available until the 25th February (if my maths is right) and is well worth a watch. I was really impressed - it covered a lot of information, not deeply but in sufficient detail that I got a real sense of who she was. She sounds like a rather formidable woman. Actually, thinking about it, at least in her older age, she reminded me a bit of Granny Weatherwax!

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#5

Ooh thanks for that. I’ll find it on catch-up.

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