Medicine and improvement in the Scots Magazine; and Edinburgh Literary Miscellany, 1804-17

Coyer, M. (2018) Medicine and improvement in the Scots Magazine; and Edinburgh Literary Miscellany, 1804-17. In: Benchimol, A. and McKeever, G. L. (eds.) Cultures of Improvement in Scottish Romanticism, 1707-1840. Series: The enlightenment world: political and intellectual history of the long eighteenth century. Routledge, pp. 191-212. ISBN 9781138482937

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Megan Coyer’s chapter engages with periodical print as a vehicle for an improving medical culture in Scotland, concentrating on the second series of the Scots Magazine. Coyer demonstrates how the Scottish press often complemented improving civic initiatives like the Edinburgh Lunatic Asylum campaign. She focuses attention on the distinctive national dynamics associated with medical improvement efforts in early nineteenth-century Scotland, with the Scots Magazine ‘providing a public forum for the expression of a national medical identity’. This identity, as Coyer shows, had an ideology of improvement at its core. This work recovers the cultural significance of the Scots Magazine as ‘the third major player in popular periodical culture in Romantic-era Scotland’; a status overshadowed by the recent critical attention devoted to the second Edinburgh Review and Blackwood’s in Scottish Romantic studies. Coyer also shows how the efforts of public health reformers highlight the complexity of improvement as both a material and moral process. She argues that print efforts dedicated to improving public health represent a ‘discursive strand in the magazine identifying a lack of cleanliness … as a moral and material blight on an otherwise improving Scottish society’. This bringing together of moral and practical aspects of improvement in the Scots also finds expression in the magazine’s series of Scottish medical biographies, whose narratives, Coyer notes, provide ‘ideal exemplars of lives dedicated to a culture of improvement’.

Item Type:Book Sections
Additional Information:PMID: 30403465.
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Coyer, Dr Megan
Authors: Coyer, M.
College/School:College of Arts & Humanities > School of Critical Studies > English Literature
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2018 The Author
First Published:First published in Cultures of Improvement in Scottish Romanticism, 1707-1840: 191-212
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License
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Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
564701The medical Blackwoodians: Literature and Science in Romantic ScotlandMegan CoyerWellcome Trust (WELLCOTR)097597/Z/11/ZCRIT - ENGLISH LITERATURE