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Robert Fergusson and the Scottish Periodical Press

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  • Pn Literature (General)
  • Economics
  • Literature
  • Political Science


Though Robert Fergusson published only one collection of poems during his lifetime, he was a fixture in the Scottish periodical press. This study explores Fergusson's poetic output in its immediate periodical context, enabling a new understanding of Fergusson's contribution to poetry that also enlarges on our understanding of the Scottish periodical press. The Fergusson revealed here engaged fully with contemporary culture, countering long-held critical assumptions about his work as backward-looking and nostalgic. Focusing on the development of his career in Walter Ruddiman's Weekly Magazine, this study situates Fergusson's poetry alongside contemporary events that expose Fergusson's preoccupations with the frivolities of fashion, theatrical culture, the economic status of Scottish manufacture, and politics. At the same time, it offers fascinating insights into the political climate of Enlightenment Scotland and shows the Weekly Magazine in relationship to the larger Scottish and British periodical milieux. It concludes by exploring reactions to Fergusson's death in the Scottish, English and American periodical presses, arguing that contrary to critical consensus, the poet's death was ignored neither by his own country nor by the larger literary community.

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