This volume provides an overview of women writers in the late eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century Edinburgh literary world. Its main focus is on the careers of three women – Elizabeth Hamilton, Anne Grant, and Christian Isobel Johnstone – who were both successful and influential in their own day, although they have tended to be overlooked in later literary history. Hamilton’s work is discussed in the contexts of her lifelong interest in moral philosophy and educational theory, while Grant, admired in her day for her letters, essays, and poetry about the Highlands, is read through eighteenth-century theories of cultural history and primitivism. Johnstone, probably the most obscure of the three today, was perhaps the most influential at the time because of her role as editor of a series of political periodicals; her fiction and journalistic work is examined in the context of the early nineteenth-century Edinburgh magazines.
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Review Quotes

Women Writers and the Edinburgh Enlightenment is an instructive and entertaining study, written pleasantly and with polish. It is also essential reading for anyone interested in Scottish women’s writing or eighteenth- and ninteenth-century literary and intellectual culure.” - Fiona Price, University of Chicester, in: Scottish Literary Review 3.2, February 2012, pp. 216-8

Table of contents

Introduction: “Excellent Women, and not too Blue”: Women Writers in Late Eighteenth- and Early Nineteenth-Century Edinburgh
Enlightening the Female Mind: Education, Sociability, and the Literary Woman in the Work of Elizabeth Hamilton
“Incongruous Things”: Primitivism and Professionalism in the Work of Anne Grant
“Scarcely Known to Fame”: The Literary Identities of Christian Isobel Johnstone
Conclusion: Modesty, Money, and Nostalgia: Narratives of Women’s Writing in Edinburgh’s “Age of Greatness”


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