New Publications 1

Although it is not a part of the Regional Romanticism project, I have recently published a monograph on closely-related material. Dialectics of Improvement: Scottish Romanticism, 1786-1831 is the latest addition to Professor Penny Fielding and Professor Ian Duncan’s ‘Edinburgh Critical Studies in Romanticism’ series with Edinburgh University Press.

To mark the occasion, I spoke to Professor Fielding for the Edinburgh University Press blog:

I’ll quote here from the book-cover text: Dialectics of Improvement develops new insight into the idea of progress as improvement as the basis for an approach to literary Romanticism in the Scottish context. With chapter case studies covering poetry, short fiction, drama and the novel, it examines a range of key writers: Robert Burns, James Hogg, Walter Scott, Joanna Baillie and John Galt. Improvement, as the book explores, provided a dominant theme for literary texts in this period, just as it saturated the wider culture. It was also of real consequence to questions about what literature is and what it can do: a medium of secular belonging, a vehicle of indefinite exchange, an educational tool or a theoretical guide to history.

A link to the book’s website is here:

Professor Angela Esterhammer has very kindly reviewed the book and writes that,

Dialectics of Improvement is a wonderfully insightful study of the interrelated currents of Enlightenment and Romanticism in Scottish literature. Covering commercial, religious, technological, aesthetic, moral, political, educational and scientific “improvement”, it reveals how contested this concept was and how important it continues to be for our understanding of the period.

This book has its origins in my doctoral research at the University of Glasgow and has evolved across my postdoctoral career. It’s great to see it in print.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.