Heraldic Reference Works
A short-list of useful reference works on heraldry, compiled for the benefit of University of Stirling postgraduate students attending the “Introduction to Heraldry” workshop on 26 September 2022. Europe Britain France Germany (Holy Roman Empire) Italy Identifying Armorial Supralibros
Wee Willie Winkie, Bookbug, and the Impoverishment of Modern Scots
This evening my wife and I were singing ‘Wee Willie Winkie’ to our two year old. It’s a lovely – if slightly creepy – nursery rhyme with a good tune and we were refreshing our memory of the words, dulled by rather too many years of adulthood, by looking at the text as printed in…
Like Planks From a Shipwreck
Tanquam tabula naufragii, like planks from a shipwreck, was a common image used by early modern writers to describe the remains of antiquity. Inherent in the image was a sense of loss, of the impossibility of ever fully recovering what had once been. The metaphor has appealed to me ever since I first came across…
Appletons’ Cyclopaedia and a Mysterious Literary Hoax
Alert readers of my blog will have noticed that last week’s post on the Restoration scholar and poet Roger Trosse is a fraud; no such man existed and the all-too-plausible biography, though populated with plenty of real individuals – George Hickes and Francis Cherry, among others – is idle pastiche. I hope this small exercise…
The Curious Life of Roger Trosse (1651-1709)
Trosse, Roger (1651-1709), theological scholar and poet, was baptised 14 June 1651 at Saint Mary Major, Exeter, Devon, the third son and seventh child of Thomas Trosse of Woodbury, Devon, and Elizabeth Webb, daughter of John Webb of Exeter, gentleman. The Presbyterian minister George Trosse (1631-1713) was an uncle. After attending Blundell’s School, where he…
The Joys of Bibliography
“Once you have approached the mountains of cases in order to mine the books from them and bring them to the light of day – or, rather, of night – what memories crowd in upon you!” — Walter Benjamin, “Unpacking My Library” This year I’ve been teaching a series of masterclasses on descriptive bibliography to…
Interview with Talking Intellectual History
I’m delighted to have recently been interviewed by the excellent Robin Mills of QMUL on “Talking Intellectual History“. The topic, unsurprisingly, is The First Scottish Enlightenment.
A New Project
My last book, The First Scottish Enlightenment, was published in February and since then Covid, lockdown, and their attendant upheavals have meant that I’ve had very little time to blog or write anything publicly about my next steps. Even if I’d had the time, I’m not sure I’d have known what to say. For several…
Interview with Historically Thinking
I was tremendously pleased recently to be interviewed by Al Zambone at Historically Thinking about The First Scottish Enlightenment. You can listen to us chat about Enlightenment, intellectual culture, and the challenges of doing history here.
Book Launch Tomorrow!
Last week, I had the joy of receiving the first copies of The First Scottish Enlightenment from OUP: This week marks the first of what I hope will be several book launch events around and furth of Scotland. If you’re at all interested, please do join me and my colleagues Scott Hames and Michael Shaw…