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" Enlightenment Everywhere": Locating The Reader In The Scottish Enlightenment

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Chapter Summary

Few casual students of the Scottish Enlightenment will have heard of George Ridpath, minister of the village of Stitchell, near Kelso, and author of A Border History of Scotland and England. Peter Gay's seminal interpretation argued that the Enlightenment, was scientific, anti-religious and possessed with a profound belief in the glorious progress of reason. While Trevor-Roper's vision of Scottish culture in the seventeenth century has been fully revised, the narrow terms in which his Enlightenment is defined have often been retained. Quite apart from these as yet unresolved faultlines at the heart of our understanding of the Scottish Enlightenment, there are some who still deny that there was any kind of relationship between the literati and the wider reading public. In addressing each of these intractable problems, scholars have yet to consider what might be learnt from the experiences of people who bought and read books in eighteenth-century Scotland.

Keywords: Scottish culture; Scottish Enlightenment



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