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Introduction

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  14 January 2010

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Summary

Morals and metaphysics, politics and political economy, the way to make the most of all the modifications of smoke; steam, gas and paper currency; you have all these to learn from us; in short, all the arts and sciences. We are the modern Athenians.

(T.L. Peacock, Crotchet Castle)

Amongst the eccentric guests who haunted Mr Crotchet's country residence in Thomas Love Peacock's famous satyrical novel, a leading role was reserved for the Scottish Mr McQuedy, indefatigable authority on all branches of metaphysics and the social sciences, eager to entertain the company with improvised digests of conjectural history and instant lectures on the exchange value of salmon, well at ease in expressing damning judgments on any respectable literary product of the time. With this caricature of the Scottish intelligentsia, uncharitably represented in their role as encyclopedic public mentors, ‘sugar-plum manufacturers to the Whig aristocracy’, Peacock paid his somewhat grudging homage to the established reputation of the Edinburgh Review as the leading literary phenomenon of its time, one which, for better or worse, had brought about a revolution in British journalism and promoted an entirely new style of critical writing. He also offered a representative, if unsympathetic, portrait of one of the main components of early-19th-century British culture, the tradition broadly inspired by the ideas of the Scottish Enlightenment, which was revived at the turn of the century by the emigration of a whole generation of Scottish intellectuals to England.

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Rethinking the Politics of Commercial Society
The Edinburgh Review 1802–1832
, pp. 1 - 10
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 1985

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  • Introduction
  • Biancamaria Fontana
  • Book: Rethinking the Politics of Commercial Society
  • Online publication: 14 January 2010
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511527388.002
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  • Introduction
  • Biancamaria Fontana
  • Book: Rethinking the Politics of Commercial Society
  • Online publication: 14 January 2010
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511527388.002
Available formats
×

Send book to Google Drive

To send content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

  • Introduction
  • Biancamaria Fontana
  • Book: Rethinking the Politics of Commercial Society
  • Online publication: 14 January 2010
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511527388.002
Available formats
×