Making Scottish Books In America, 1770–1784

in The Enlightenment & the Book

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print February 2007 | ISBN: 9780226752525
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226752549 | DOI:
Making Scottish Books In America, 1770–1784

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  • Early Modern History (1500 to 1700)


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In their influential 1976 article, “The Enlightened Reader in America,” David Lundberg and Henry F. May charted the reading habits of late eighteenth-century Americans by searching the holdings of nearly 300 libraries. They identified “a sharp growth in the popularity of the Scots” during the years 1777–1790 and the continued or increased popularity of Scottish authors from 1790 until the closing date of their study in 1813. As Mark G. Spencer has shown in regard to David Hume, Lundberg and May seriously underestimated the colonial influence of some of the authors whose works they attempted to analyze. The influence of the Enlightenment in Scotland on the American founding fathers has now been placed on firm ground, and recent studies by Roger Emerson, Nina Reid-Maroney, and others, along with classic works by Andrew Hook on Scottish–American cultural and literary interactions, and by Douglas Sloan on the role of Scots and Scotland in the making of American higher education, have informed us of the richness and complexity of Scottish intellectual influences both well before and long after the American Revolution.

Keywords: David Lundberg; Henry F. May; reading; America; Mark G. Spencer; David Hume; colonial influence; Scotland; Enlightenment; Roger Emerson

Chapter.  14765 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Early Modern History (1500 to 1700)

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