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Making British Culture: English Readers and the Scottish by David Allan

By David Allan

Making British tradition explores an under-appreciated consider the emergence of a recognisably British tradition. particularly, it examines the studies of English readers among round 1707 and 1830 as they grappled, in quite a few conditions, with the good effusion of Scottish authorship – together with the hard-edged highbrow achievements of David Hume, Adam Smith and William Robertson in addition to the extra available contributions of poets like Robert Burns and Walter Scott – that exclusive the age of the Enlightenment.

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Extra resources for Making British Culture: English Readers and the Scottish Enlightenment (Routledge Studies in Cultural History)

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38 No less important were a closely-related series of structural changes in the economy. 39 It is evident that the implications of these processes for the country’s culture were also far-reaching. Its very nature was transformed. So too were public perceptions of both its scope and its significance. Indeed, the English increasingly gloried in their rapidly evolving culture, almost as much as in their political, economic and military triumphs. This was because they had begun to see it a vital expression of their own precocious modernity as a nation.

They also take valuable strides towards substantiating the judgments already noted, from well-placed contemporary observers both at home and abroad, which insisted that the Scots had acquired a very major influence in the worlds of learning and letters. But explorations of Page 9 its unforeseen Victorian aftershocks, just like those essentially focused outside Britain, ultimately take us not that much closer to a proper appreciation of the Scottish Enlightenment as it originally impacted upon what was unquestionably its largest and most important historical audience.

Yet it is very obvious that in reality a whole host of hypothetical constructions of a book like Hume’s History—for example, that it is to be read as a work of Christian apologetics, or even as a feminist tract—are for all serious purposes inadmissible. Nor is it unclear why the number of credible options available to us is actually so limited. After all, reading is fundamentally a social rather than a solipsistic practice. As a result, a legitimate interpretation needs to rest upon an account of the text’s meaning, based upon an analysis both of its own contents and of what can be reconstructed about the circumstances of its composition, to which at least a significant number of other competent readers, each performing similar triangulatory exercises for themselves, can be persuaded to lend their support.

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