British Romanticism and the Edinburgh Review: Bicentenary by Duncan Wu, Demata Massimiliano

By Duncan Wu, Demata Massimiliano

The bicentenary of the basis of the Edinburgh assessment has supplied the key students within the box with the chance to reconsider the pervasive importance of an important literary evaluate of the Romantic interval. those essays investigate the arguable function performed through the Edinburgh assessment within the improvement of Romantic literature and discover its experience of "Scottishness" within the context of early nineteenth century British tradition.

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30 He believed those common impressions to be the record of humanity’s collective experience of pleasure and pain, and simple pragmatism should lead us to consider that collective experience in shaping our own attitudes and actions. 22 Philip Flynn Although he thought that teleological explanations of our moral sentiments are ‘presumptuous and inconclusive’, 31 Jeffrey used the experiential moral consensus as his standard in evaluating the programmes of reformers in his radical age. Reviewing Bentham’s Traités de legislation (1802) he warned that even a brilliant reformer might overlook or undervalue important aspects of human happiness: It is in aid of this oversight, of this omission, of this partiality, that we refer to the general rules of morality; rules, which have been suggested by a larger observation, and a longer experience, than any individual can dream of pretending to, and which have been accommodated by the joint action of our sympathies with delinquents and sufferers to the actual condition of human fortitude and infirmity .

Cockburn, ii 23. John Gibson Lockhart, Memoirs of the Life of Sir Walter Scott (Boston, 1901), v 244. David Welsh, Account of the Life and Writings of Thomas Brown (Edinburgh, 1825), p. 77. Henry Lord Brougham, The Life and Times of Lord Brougham (3 vols, Edinburgh, 1871), i 252. Adam Smith, An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations, The Glasgow Edition of the Works and Correspondence of Adam Smith, ed. R. H. Campbell and A. S. Skinner (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1976), ii 796.

38 Francis Hutcheson’s Inquiry was the first important Scottish study of aesthetic psychology, and Hutcheson recognized the danger of aesthetic/ moral relativism. Defining beauty as an ‘idea raised in us’, he inquired ‘what real quality’ in external objects normally excites this idea. Influenced by both Shaftesbury and Locke, Hutcheson argued that men share an involuntary ‘sense of beauty’ – an internal sense capable of receiving stimuli from without and of subsequently raising the idea of beauty in our minds.

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