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The Life of David Hume$
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Ernest C. Mossner

Print publication date: 2001

Print ISBN-13: 9780199243365

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199243365.001.0001

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Scotland’s Augustans

Scotland’s Augustans

(p.370) Chapter 27 Scotland’s Augustans
The Life of David Hume

Ernest Campbell Mossner

Oxford University Press

In 1757, David Hume was fired with pride over the literary achievements of Scotland. The implications of this statement as to the cultural ideals of Hume and the Edinburgh men of letters, in general, require elucidation, forming, as they do, a national programme of Enlightenment. Basic to the programme was the distinction between the spoken and the written language. It is certainly true that Hume spoke with a Lowland pronunciation all his life. Since the Union of the Parliaments, Scotland had sent her representatives to London; and the spoken language, which had not hitherto been an issue, became one immediately. The gradual infiltration of English into Edinburgh University, both as language and as literature, has already been made evident. In 1760, the Reverend Hugh Blair was elected Professor of Rhetoric without a salary, and two years later was appointed Regius Professor of Rhetoric and Belles-Lettres. Edinburgh thus established the first chair of English in the British Isles.

Keywords:   David Hume, Scotland, Edinburgh, men of letters, programme, Enlightenment, English, Hugh Blair, British Isles

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