An enlightened antiquary?: Sir Walter Scott, the Scottish enlightenment and antiquarianism, 1771-1832

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Selva, Megan Elizabeth
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University of Guelph

This thesis is an investigation of Sir Walter Scott's debt to the intellectual and cultural world of eighteenth-century antiquarianism. Scotland was one of the centers of Enlightenment during the eighteenth century; several provocative studies have investigated the intellectual relationship between Scott and the philosophical historians of the Scottish Enlightenment. But eighteenth-century Britain was also home to a thriving antiquarian community, to which Scott also belonged. Recent studies have proven that the antiquarian approach to history made positive contributions to the Enlightenment historical project. This thesis seeks to make a preliminary examination of several aspects of Scott's antiquarianism, with particular regard to his childhood on the Scottish Borders, his participation in the antiquarian "Republic of Letters," his membership in various antiquarian societies, his interest in the preservation of historical and antiquarian texts, and his lifelong passion for collecting. By way of conclusion, the final chapter will focus on 'The Border Antiquities of England and Scotland,' one of Scott's only extant antiquarian writings.

Sir Walter Scott, Scottish Enlightenment, antiquarianism, childhood