restricted access Letters from the Highlands: Scribal Publication and Media Shift in Victorian Scotland

This essay argues that a little-studied text, Elizabeth Grant’s Memoirs of a Highland Lady, offers insights into conditions of authorship and publication for middle-class provincial female authors from the early nineteenth century to the turn of the twentieth. While critics have often seen manuscript declining as a form of literary publication by the end of the Romantic period, I argue that Grant—who completed her memoir in 1854—chose to “publish” in manuscript even as she presented herself as historian and historiographer of the Highlands. Grant shows her awareness of a shifting Victorian media environment by analyzing changes in systems of communication and circulation. Her manuscript memoirs demonstrate that Victorians, like ourselves, often viewed history through the lens of media shift.