Crowded with Genius: The Scottish Enlightenment: Edinburgh's Moment of the Mind

Crowded with Genius: The Scottish Enlightenment: Edinburgh's Moment of the Mind

James Buchan


In the early eighteenth century, Edinburghwas a dirty backwater synonymous with poverty and affliction, and lately recognized for non secular persecution. while this small walled-off urban surrendered to a handful of Highlanders in 1745, issues had by no means regarded bleaker. but by way of century's finish, the traditional Scottish capital had develop into the wonder of contemporary Europe, because of a bunch of neighbors whose trailblazing ingenuity and fervour for ideas replaced the best way we all examine the world.

It was once in Edinburgh special accumulating of the best minds of the day got here jointly and made breathtaking thoughts in structure, politics, technological know-how, the humanities and economics, all of which proceed to echo loudly this present day. This was once a time of radical upheaval and development, and a spot of such cerebral stature as to rival the Athens of Socrates. Adam Smith penned The Wealth of Nations. James Boswell produced The lifetime of Samuel Johnson. along them, pioneers -- comparable to the philosophers David Hume and Adam Ferguson, the poet Robert Burns, the chemist James Black, the geologist James Hutton, and the novelist Sir Walter Scott -- reworked the best way we comprehend our perceptions and emotions, ailment and well-being, kinfolk among the sexes, the flora and fauna, and the aim of existence.

In Crowded with Genius, James Buchan, himself a Scot with a robust attachment to this background, fantastically reconstructs the intimate geographic scale and boundless highbrow milieu of Enlightenment Edinburgh. With the scholarship of a historian and the attractiveness of a novelist, he tells the tale of the triumph of this not likely city and the boys whose imaginative and prescient introduced it into being. Buchan has written a unprecedented account of the flow that became Edinburgh from a urban less than siege right into a hotbed of tremendous achievements that modified the process heritage and gave start to the trendy mind.

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