From a delightful Regency-era discussion in the Edinburgh Observer, or, Town and Country Magazine, Jan. 3, 1818: “ON GHOSTS” In churchyards: “(they) have no particular business, but seem to appear, pro bono publico, or to scare idle apprentices from playing pranks over their tombs.” Their appearance: “dragging chains is not the fashion of English ghosts; […]

James Hogg (1770-1835) was the son of a tenant farmer and largely self-taught, the Bible being his primer. He worked as a sheep drover for another farmer, Laidlaw, who gave him more books to read and his son Will as companion. He began to write plays and pastoral poems, taking walking tours in the summers. So things might have […]

  It is perhaps appropriate, in the aftermath of the Referendum on Scottish Independence, that we turn to another Scot, a patriot to his birthplace, and famous Regency-era critic. John Gibson Lockhart (1794 – 1854) was born to a clergyman and a clergyman’s daughter at the manse (rectory) of Cambusnethan House in the Scottish Lowlands. (Today, the place is marked by a rather […]

reposted from Hearts through History: The Referendum on Scottish independence brings to mind the fate of a little girl born to forge a much earlier Union. In 1283, some three hundred years before England and Scotland were joined under a single monarch, a daughter was born to the sea-king of the north, Eirik II of Norway. The little […]

“The ship, probably the Terror, was very neat and orderly, but the Inuit descended into the darkness of the hull with their seal-oil lamps, where they found a tall dead man in an inner cabin.” — The Guardian, 2009 After years of tantalizing clues found in the ice and stories told by indigenous Arctic people […]

Blackwood’s Magazine, or “Maga,” first appeared in 1817, “breaking upon the startled gaze of Edinburgh Whigdom.” It soon gained a notoriety for being, more than anything, an affront to the Edinburgh Review, subject of this blog’s previous post. This rivalry served to give Blackwood’s popularity a boost throughout Regency Britain, along with the curious way its writers adopted numerous pseudonyms; a practice that […]

Edinburgh has been argued as the early nineteenth century’s “capital city of modern literature.” It is there that we find the original Regency-era critic. The Edinburgh Review was one of the first, if not the inaugural, quarterly journal to feature in-depth literary reviews. It was created by a circle of Whigs, some of whom have been the subject of this blog in the past: Sydney […]

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