The Scottish literati of the latter half of the eighteenth century, as well as punching above their weight in the intellectual life of Europe, were also prone to tensions and antagonisms within their own circle. Contributing to this internal friction was an anxiety to conform to English standards of speech and language without seeming ashamed of their unique patrimony and bruising their national pride: Scots frequently attacked one another for having failed on one or other of those accounts. A passage from a 1763 letter to James Boswell reveals one such squabble between two relatively neglected literary Scots, Sir David Dalrymple of Hailes (1726–1792) and David Mallet (ne Malloch). An exploration of this spat affords a wider view of Scottish literary connections, accomplishments and anxieties, and demonstrates that heat as well as light was generated from the creative energy of the Scottish Enlightenment.


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pp. 115-128
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