My current research examines the literature of agriculture and ‘improvement’ during the Scottish Enlightenment and Romantic periods. After the collapse of the 1745 rebellion, Scotland experienced a profound and dramatic transformation as landowners, farmers, politicians, doctors, scientists, and philosophers reinvented their agricultural landscape on a modern and scientific footing. During the last few years, I have been examining the ecological and cultural implications of this transformation through a close analysis of the literatures that developed in its wake, including geology and chemistry, intellectual journalism, antiquarianism, poetry, fiction, cheap periodicals, religious controversy, and illustrated books. Over the next months, I will be developing this research into two book projects, applying for new funding, and compiling original data. I will also be using this space as a blog for updates and links.
In 2015, I published an article on some of my research into religion and reading in a special issue, Networks of Improvement, edited by Jon Mee, for the Journal for Eighteenth-Century Studies. It can be downloaded here.