Colonialism, Early Modern Herbals, and Female Identity in Isabella Whitney's A Sweet Nosegay, or Pleasant Posye

  • Shonnaugh Thomson


This paper reviews the link between colonialism
and the female body as a “colonizable” space. Using both
John Parkinson’s and William Turner’s herbals as examples
of male-dominate knowledge, this paper argues that colonial methods of compiling, documenting, and publishing
information maintain control and ownership of women’s
bodies through imposed limits around women’s ability to
utilize the medical knowledge compiled in herbals. These
ideas are contextualized by the poetry of Isabella Whitney,
which resists these male-dominated spaces by engaging
with herbal knowledge in a way that highlights a system of
female oppression.