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Situating Scotland in Eighteenth-Century Studies



This essay surveys general trends in book-length studies of 18th-century Scottish literature and culture to examine how moving Scotland from the peripheries to the centre of 18th-century studies has transformed our understandings of the field. It describes three categories or phases of scholarship – canon formation, contextualization and comparison, and methodological reflection – and suggests what kind of work remains to be done in each category. It also discusses how new approaches to reading minor literatures, including those informed by postcolonial theory, Atlantic studies, and devolutionary criticism, have shaped and been shaped by scholarship on 18th-century Scottish literature and culture over the past two decades.