Johns Hopkins University Press
  • Translating Arabia in Enlightenment Edinburgh:Compilation, Comparison, and Robert Heron

In the eighteenth century, commercial translation was an audience-focused practice. It was less a technical word-for-word conversion than a fundamental transformation of a work that altered its meaning by transplanting it into another linguistic and cultural context, in a different material form, and addressed to a new community of readers.1 Because this was so, Madeleine Dobie has suggested that scholars pay closer attention to the "intersecting sites of translation and reception."2 Charles Withers and Paul Wood have similarly advocated a focus on "geographies of knowledge" in the Enlightenment, especially on "how ideas moved between sites."3 They encourage further studies of "the book trade and print culture" to address "questions about how the works of foreign authors translated—in the geographical and epistemological senses of that term—into enlightened circles."4 This article advances this research agenda by analyzing how people in a late-Enlightenment capital came to read and make comparisons about a "remote" place: Arabia. It draws on Edinburgh booksellers' records for 1770–1810, as well as various published and unpublished writings by the prolific translator and miscellaneous writer Robert Heron (1764–1807), to better understand: 1) the relationship between translators and booksellers, and especially the role of "hack" translators in commercial publishing at this time; 2) how and why different kinds of books containing information about Arabia were produced, sold, bought, and [End Page 91] used; and 3) the role of translation and compilation in the intellectual culture of Enlightenment Edinburgh.

The focus on Enlightenment Edinburgh does not mean that the books discussed herein—principally Heron's translations of Arabian Tales (1792) and Carsten Niebuhr's Travels Through Arabia (1792), along with other relevant compilations and editions—were only read or produced in Edinburgh. Such works were often (co-)published by booksellers in Perth and London, and they were widely sold and read elsewhere.5 Nor does it mean that this article offers a "city-scale" analysis. Rather, it begins with a bookshop, and the focus sharpens on the life and work of an individual employed by the proprietors of that bookshop. The case is made here for individual-scale analysis of a hitherto understudied "hack" translator (i.e., Heron), and for understanding the ideas about the Arabic language and about translation by which he was influenced. Heron's role in disseminating Niebuhr's observations has generally been overlooked, and major studies of Arabian tales in translation during this period have entirely ignored his contribution.6 These valuable grand-scale accounts can overlook the precise moments, places, materials, and people through which important translation happens. It is difficult, of course, to identify the "one or more anonymous 'Grub Street' hacks" who translated Antoine Galland's Arabian Nights from the French between 1705 and 1717,7 but the archival material about Heron is rich and worthy of study as it sheds light on bigger questions of Enlightenment epistemology. As Chi-ming Yang suggests, by uncovering and scrutinizing the "often ghosted figures of go-betweens [and] translators" of eighteenth-century East-West ("not-quite"-)encounters, a richer history of Enlightenment reasoning can be written and the "paradigm of Western modernity" can be better contested.8 Focusing more "locally," at the level of individual and institutional relationships within the city, allows for a better understanding of the highly contingent reasons that particular translations were proposed, produced, and circulated.

The intention here is also to emphasize the diverse social and institutional contexts in which different material configurations of Heron's Arabian translations were read and used. Drawing on Bruno Latour's conceptualization of translation as a series of stages, with compilation at the end of the scale, the article demonstrates how Heron's translations were by no means entirely (or even primarily) linguistic: the effect of his commercial repackaging of literary material, and of his juxtaposing it relative to other sources of information, was to change the patterns and forms in which it circulated, and to enhance its "mobility, stability and combinability."9 Through Heron's translations, particular conceptions of Arabia circulated as factual claims. This was true for the travelers' observations he translated as well as for the fictional tales. Indeed, while the literary inheritance of Arabian tales has been well explored,10 there has been comparatively little research on how the images and messages of such tales functioned in more informational registers too. Crucially, the emphasis here is less on how knowledge of Arabia featured in the influential treatises of the Enlightenment, and more on the Enlightenment processes of comparison and compilation that were enabled by the ways in which that knowledge was translated.

In its attention to booksellers' records and Heron's various writings, then, this article analyzes a long-term period of mediation in Enlightenment Edinburgh, in which numerous editions, compilations, comparisons, transmissions, and receptions [End Page 92] shaped the translation of knowledge. It argues that Heron's distinctive translation work enabled the simple, material comparisons and the more intangible intellectual confidence that was crucial to Enlightenment discourse. Heron's translating and compiling practices raised the epistemological status of fictional narrative relative to travel literature, and ensured that knowledge of Arabia became common knowledge, widely shared among different groups of readers, in and through school classrooms, encyclopedia-style summaries, and other popular compendia. Understanding Heron's Arabian translations in context enables a better understanding of—and a fuller appreciation of the contingencies of—Enlightenment literary culture, educational institutions, and intellectual practices.


At the heart of the Scottish Enlightenment book trade was the area around Edinburgh's St Giles Cathedral.11 The closes, streets, and squares of Edinburgh's Old Town center were home to a number of popular, well-stocked bookshops. One such was owned, in the 1770s and 1780s, by Charles Elliot, whose archived business ledgers contain details of thousands of sales stationery, maps, globes, and books between 1771 and 1790.12 For William Zachs, Elliot's accounts "may be the single best source for information about the Scottish [book] trade" in this period.13 Here, Elliot's records shed light on the early stages of Heron's translation career, and on the availability of books about Arabia before Heron started translating. They reveal, too, how Heron initially obtained the books that he later translated, thereby demonstrating that Heron did not make information about Arabia available to an Edinburgh audience for the first time but, rather, that he changed the patterns and forms in which it circulated.

Zachs has also noted the importance of the records of another Edinburgh bookselling partnership: that of John Bell and John Bradfute.14 Bell and Bradfute acquired Elliot's bookshop in 1790, and their daily accounts cover most of the period up to 1810.15 It was these booksellers with whom Heron collaborated most regularly. They were his most frequent patrons, and it was usually to them that he proposed new translations. Bell and Bradfute's records are useful here for the detail they provide about their payments to printers and translators (including Heron), and especially about the buyers of Heron's translations. Their sales records enable an understanding of how Heron's works fitted into individual customers' book collections, and of the popularity of compilations informed by Heron's translations.

Heron's name appears prominently in the ledgers of both Elliot and Bell and Bradfute, both as a book-buyer and especially as a paid author and translator. He was prolific, as was necessary for a hack writer at the time, and many of his works sold in healthy numbers. He was the author, for example, of the compilation Scotland Delineated (two editions: 1791 and 1799), of which Bell and Bradfute as co-publishers sold 948 copies between 1791 and 1808, including to booksellers in Glasgow, London, Liverpool, and New York. Heron was also the unnamed author or translator of numerous works. He was a major (if largely unacknowledged) contributor to at least one edition of the Encyclopædia Britannica, published by Elliot.

In many cases, the only evidence that Heron was involved in particular publications is to be found in the booksellers' account or in his "Journal of My [End Page 93] Conduct," which records the mundane and remarkable details of his life during the nine years in which he was commissioned by booksellers to translate miscellaneous foreign-language works into English.16 His first diary entry, in August 1789, describes him translating Jean-Pierre Houël's Voyage Pittoresque des Isles de Sicile, de Malte et de Lipari for the Encyclopædia Britannica. In another entry he reports his struggle to meet a deadline "to translate for the E. B. [Encyclopædia Britannica] the table at the end of Fourcroy's Chemistry." Unlike published autobiographies of the period, Heron's diary was not intended for public circulation. It describes, with occasionally excruciating candor, his self-identified impiety, lasciviousness, professional inadequacy, and laziness. It also details the progress (or lack of it) of his daily translation in numbers of "pages" of the original volume or of "sheets" filled with his own writing. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Heron's countenance was described as "pale and care-worn," while his eyes were, "from study and confinement, generally inflamed."17 His were the common social and financial "struggles of the Grub Street Scots," as Sher terms them, "who wrote on commission from publishers" and were paid by the page.18

Heron was almost always in a financially precarious position. He was treated as a cheap resource by booksellers seeking to maximize profit margins. The £23 10s he was paid for translating Arabian Tales for Bell and Bradfute in January 1794 was eclipsed by the £57 paid to James Neill, the printer. Elliot also paid Heron £23 2s for translating Claude-Étienne Savary's Letters on Greece shortly after its original publication in French in 1788.19 These are sums that would have supported a comfortable middle-class lifestyle for a month or so, but such one-off payments were minimal compensation for hundreds of pages of specialist translation. Moreover, the diary records that he frequently had to chase up money owed to him by the booksellers; and, as he often missed work deadlines, Heron's relationships with his patrons were unstable. On Saturday September 19, 1789, Heron's diary recounts how "Mr. C. Elliot called to scold. I have used Mr. Elliott [sic] very ill." He spent at least two spells in a debtors' prison. On June 15, 1793, it was because he owed an acquaintance "Twenty two pounds nineteen shillings & sixpence one farthing sterling & interest since due"—average earnings for one translation job—and it was for the same unpaid debt that he was returned to jail a month later.20 His Arabian Tales fee therefore merely allowed him to pay off his debts.

His "Journal" also indicates that Heron was the instigator of translations, proposing titles of interest to publishers (often Bell and Bradfute) and printers (usually James Neill). For example, the entry for July 13, 1790 reveals that Heron proposed a translation of Jean-Baptiste Barthélemy de Lesseps' Travels in Kamtschatka to "Mr. Bell" of Bell and Bradfute. His July 19, 1790 diary entry mentions that the printer "Mr. Neill [was] very obliging to have the half of Kamtschatka." An anonymous translation of Jean-Baptiste Barthélemy de Lesseps' Travels in Kamtschatka was published in London in 1790, ultimately by the bookseller Joseph Johnson. It is possible that Neill was the unnamed printer and Heron the unnamed translator of (at least half) the work. Regardless, Heron clearly saw the commercial potential of such a translation, and the example illustrates that his role involved not just accepting commissions from booksellers but also directly proposing publications to them. His ability to pay the bills may have sometimes depended on his ability to persuade a publisher to commission a project. Moreover, his enthusiasm [End Page 94] for specific foreign-language texts was sometimes the main driver behind their becoming available in English editions.


Heron was keenly interested in the Arabic East, and he was not alone. In the great libraries and learned institutions of Europe, the translation of original Arabic sources had been ongoing since the seventeenth century. From these pre-Enlightenment scholar-translators, eighteenth-century philosophers inherited an understanding of Islamic civilization as advanced in terms of philosophy, science, and literature.21 During the eighteenth century, however, Enlightenment writers increasingly relied upon first-person (European-authored) travel accounts of Islamic social life.22 English Enlightenment writers used the example of Islamic society to reflect on their own religious and political systems.23 Alexander Bevilacqua suggests that Scottish Enlightenment philosophers drew on knowledge of Islam "only when it could be used to support their agendas. These writers were primarily invested in making generalizations and determining patterns across human societies, rather than in pondering, much less investigating, Islam or the history of Muslim peoples."24 Europeans variously saw the scene of oriental despotism, the "antique lands" of a once stupendous civilization, and the homeland of Christendom.25 There was a sense in which understanding this region was a means of understanding European identity and religious history.26

Arabia as understood by Europe was a heterogeneous place, in that its different regions seemed to represent different stages of society, or in that the word seemed to carry different meanings. "Arabia" often denoted literary culture based in Baghdad and/or Syria. The word could function as a loose synonym for The Levant or be used to refer to the (then-declining) Ottoman empire. "Arabia" sometimes specifically referred to the Arabian Peninsula, and the 1797 Encyclopædia Britannica described "Arabia Proper" as "including little more than what was comprehended by the ancients under the name of Arabia Felix," now known more commonly as South Arabia or Greater Yemen.27 And within this region the coastal city-dwellers' civilization could be sharply contrasted with the nomadic tribes of the deserts.

Jürgen Osterhammel explains that the nomadic Arabs "were regarded as unhistorical in the sense that they were at once posthistorical and prehistoric: posthistorical, because they had exited the stage of history following their star appearance; prehistoric, because they appeared to have sunk into an atemporal stasis that made them witnesses and relics of an age-old past."28 In his own notes explaining Niebuhr's descriptions of these people, Heron writes: "Their local circumstances seem to have given a degree of permanency to the character of the inhabitants of this country; in consequence of which, the history of one or two centuries may be fairly esteemed equal to the history of the whole period of their national existence."29 Apparently stationary peoples, or societies that had (supposedly) not developed beyond a certain stage, drew attention from Scotland's Enlightenment intellectuals, as did societies about which only minimal information was available.30

Arabia's deserts were frustratingly obscure from the perspective of Enlightenment Scots. Heron described them as "regions where all is peculiar, and but little [End Page 95] is known."31 In an earlier Scottish travel account, Mary Ann Hanway described "the deserts of Arabia" as "the remotest regions of the earth."32 Yet people were not entirely unacquainted with this place. Arabia often functioned as an example of an "other," an exoticism exacerbated by the fact that, in eighteenth-century Britain, few spoke or understood Arabic. There was greater familiarity with Persian, the official language of the British-administered Mughal Empire and an inspiration for early Romantic poets, but, in Edinburgh at least, only a select few could formally study Arabic. Heron might have been one of the few. As a child, he had taught himself to read and write Hebrew, perhaps using James Robertson's Grammatica Linguae Hebraeae (1758) which contained two pages on the Arabic alphabet. Heron then attended the University of Edinburgh in the 1780s during which time Robertson, as Professor of Hebrew, offered courses of lectures in Persian and Arabic. Even if Heron did attend such lectures, however, he certainly would not have had an intimate understanding of Arabic and it remained an obscure language for most. The difference of Arabia was significantly linguistic. This meant that translation from Arabic was important to do, and complex—and often indirect—in the doing.


In 1792, Bell and Bradfute and other booksellers in Edinburgh and London published four volumes of Arabian Tales, which Heron had "arrayed … in a handsome and becoming English dress."33 The printer was Heron's regular collaborator Neill, as Bell and Bradfute's records indicate. The work's title page announced:

a continuation of the Arabian nights entertainments … Newly translated from the original Arabic into French … And translated from the French into English, by Robert Heron.

The story of Arabian Tales is worth exploring. Antoine Galland's Les Mille et Une Nuits, Contes Arabes Traduits en Français ("The Thousand and One Nights, Arab Tales Translated into French") was supposedly copied from or inspired by authentic Arabic sources. It was produced in twelve volumes from 1704–1717, with English translations from 1706. Through the eighteenth century, Galland's work went through numerous new editions, alternative translations, and theatrical adaptions; Bridget Orr has argued that the latter in particular, with their mass audiences, "effectively created popular Georgian orientalism."34 Khalid Bekkaoui notes too that the genre of the eighteenth-century novel "developed in tandem with the appearance of the Arabian Nights in English translation."35 In the 1780s a Syrian priest named Dom Chavis set about producing a complete Arabic version of the tales, using some of Galland's original sources along with Galland's own French-language inventions. Chavis crudely translated this Arabic manuscript into French, but his version was deemed deficient on stylistic grounds, so Jacques Cazotte was employed to convert it into more elegant and entertaining French prose, using considerable artistic license and even adding four narratives of his own.36 This—this translation of a translation of a translation of a supposed translation—was the publication that Heron then translated into English.

Much of what people in Edinburgh knew about Arabia came through such tales. In the absence of accurate and contemporary eyewitness accounts, fictional narrative "was a principal mode of information gathering; storytelling [End Page 96] was experimental, provisional, and sought antipodean alternatives from utopian critique," and the various Arabian tales publications were key examples of this.37 Before the publication in 1792 of Heron's translation of Carsten Niebuhr's Travels Through Arabia—which featured rare "observations concerning an inviting, but almost inaccessible country"—the Edinburgh booksellers' records list few sales of travel accounts describing that region.38 Those relevant titles that Elliot did sell in the 1770s and 1780s—Thomas Shaw's Travels in Barbary and the Levant (1738), Fredrik Hasselqvist's Voyages and Travels in the Levant (English translation 1776), and Comte de Volney's Travels Through Egypt and Syria (English translation 1787)—mostly described neighboring nations rather than the Arabian Peninsula itself. There was undoubtedly an imaginative interest in the region, however. Besides the persistent popularity of the Arabian Tales, the bookseller Charles Elliot also sold in 1774 two copies of the orientalist William Jones' Poems Consisting Chiefly of Translations from the Asiatick (1772), which included Jones' versions of poems that were inspired by or indirectly copied from Arabic originals.39 Jones' accompanying essay argued that "we can properly lay the scene of pastoral poetry" in Arabia Felix "because no nation at this day can vie with the Arabians in the delightfulness of their climate."40 For Jones, Arabian literature and "rich and beautiful language" was rich and beautiful because of the scenery routinely witnessed by the Nomadic Arabians, who lived their lives "in the highest pleasure … in the contemplation of the most delightful objects, and in the enjoyment of perpetual spring."41

There is evidence to suggest that Heron struggled to translate distinctive Arabic imagery into English, however. It is worth considering the simplistic if important issue of Heron's frame of reference here. There is no evidence that Heron ever traveled internationally. He may not have even left Scotland until he moved to London in 1797. He was obliged, therefore, to compare what he read about Arabia with his experiences of Scotland. The direction of comparison certainly went the other way. In his 1793 Observations Made in a Journey Through the Western Counties of Scotland, he compared his home country with what he had read about more distant places. For example, Kirkdale House near Gatehouse of Fleet, some 15 miles from where Heron grew up, had "the air of the palace of an Arabian Tale."42

Translating even the romance and subtleties of the French language into English seems to have been something of a problem, at least in one respect. One of Heron's acquaintances described how Heron brought him:

a translation of Tales from the French similar to the Arabian Nights Entertainments, in which I found he [Heron] had uniformly christened the word Hôtel with the epithet of Inn; and on my noticing to him that he ought to leave it as it was—Hôtel, or call it house, or palace, if he would translate it, he took his Manuscript away with him in a great dudgeon.43

In this instance, Heron's English vocabulary was not capable of conveying the meaning of a French term, with its connotations of hospitable grandeur, let alone the "original" Arabic. Ultimately, the word "inn" appeared only rarely in the text, whereas "palace" featured hundreds of times.

In his preface to the Arabian Tales, Heron apologized for errors exacerbated by his publishers' haste, noting that a "blundering Translator will less readily be [End Page 97] pardoned, since the Principles of Translation have been so ably explained in an anonymous essay, published last Summer."44 This Essay on the Principles of Translation (1791, with an expanded second edition published in 1797) was authored by Scottish advocate and academic Alexander Fraser Tytler, who in fact bought two volumes of Heron's History of Scotland from Bell and Bradfute in December 1798. Tytler complained that the "continual demand" for translations had served to throw "the practice of translation into mean and mercenary hands."45 "To one who walks in trammels," he wrote, "it is not easy to exhibit an air of grace and freedom."46 Heron—paid by the page and working to a short deadline—fell short of many of Tytler's "principles" with his Arabian Tales. For Tytler, a good translator should have "a perfect knowledge of the language of the original" and be well-acquainted with "those very delicate shades of distinction in the signification of words," noting an example of a poor translation that had itself been translated from a translation (i.e. not from the source language).47 Clearly, Heron did not use any original Arabic texts and even struggled to translate appropriately from French. However, Tytler's characterization of a "good" translation is worth considering here: it should be "as distinctly apprehended, and as strongly felt, by a native of the country to which that language belongs, as it is by those who speak the language of the original work."48

Tytler allowed translators some creative license to ensure that their translations had the "ease of original composition."49 This included the freedom to censor or omit bawdy passages from the Classics, for example. Heron saw his expurgation of his version of the Arabian Tales as one of his key contributions as translator.50 He noted that previous editions had been "calculated, almost exclusively, for the debauchee and the woman of pleasure."51 He explicitly aimed his translation at "those, who chose to withdraw the mind occasionally from the realities of life, yet were unwilling to debase imagination."52 By presenting it as a source of rational amusement, Heron's version of the Tales was re-translated as an entertaining but informative and authentic account of Arabia. As such, it was open to scholarly criticism: "accuracy" and "authenticity" were the notions by which eighteenth century translations were commonly judged, especially when they pertained to the "Orient."53 Translations, including Heron's, were keenly discussed in the press, with debates about their reliability often running over several issues with letters and articles.54 Heron felt obliged to pre-emptively defend himself in his preface by arguing that the evidence for the Tales' authenticity was "internal. The scenery, characters, incidents, manners, customs, allusions, and cast of composition, are all Oriental."55 The Tales, according to Heron, were "entirely Eastern in their whole structure. I have been able to observe nothing in them, which can be considered as having slipped from a Frenchman's pen."56 This vouching for the veracity and authenticity of the Tales is significant, for reasons discussed further below. It is also revealing that, by this point, Heron considered himself an expert on the region.


Heron's Journey ends with an advertisement for his translation of Carsten Niebuhr's Travels Through Arabia, being "the latest, and indeed almost the only topographical account of Arabia, in the hands of the European public."57 This was an English-language abridgement of Niebuhr's Beschreibung von Arabien [End Page 98] ("Description of Arabia," 1772) and Reisebeschreibung nach Arabien und andern umliegender Ländern ("Travel account of Arabia and other surrounding countries," two volumes, 1774 and 1778). Heron's remains the only English translation of these works. Building on Dean Bond's analysis of how Niebuhr's observations moved from the field, to the study of a German scholar, to the periodicals of the Aufklärung,58 this article examines how they moved, through Heron's translations and abridgements, into the bookshops, school classrooms, and private bookshelves of a wider English-reading public.

Niebuhr was a German mathematician and explorer, and his publications, notable for their detail on the Arabian Peninsula, recounted a six-year scientific exhibition that also took in India, Egypt, and Persia.59 Osterhammel identifies Niebuhr as "atypical for his time" as a traveler capable of cultural sensitivity, aware of how his perceptions were filtered through European expectations.60 Niebuhr's account was, according to Osterhammel, "By far the most detailed description of Arab nomadism to that point."61 Niebuhr took care to explain his sources when addressing the questions and criteria for his journey provided by Europe's Enlightened scholars. He also brought back over 100 Arabic texts (mostly acquired in Cairo and Istanbul) to Copenhagen, where few people could read them.62 Heron felt that Niebuhr's publications, too, were insufficiently accessible for the general reader.

In terms of both structure and content, Heron's translation differs from Niebuhr's original German publications.63 To explain this, it is necessary to understand the precise context and circumstances of his translation. He admitted that he was encouraged to undertake it by "some eminent literary characters."64 One of these was Hugh Blair, minister of St Giles Cathedral and Chair of Rhetoric and Belles Lettres at the University of Edinburgh, to whom Elliot sold a two-volume edition of "Neibuhr [sic] Voyage en Arabie" in August 1788. At this time, Heron was training for the ministry and working as Blair's assistant. Elliot's archives therefore help identify, for the first time, the French-language edition from which Heron translated. Indeed, Heron clearly followed the structure of the anonymously translated Voyage en Arabie (two volumes, published in 1776 by S. J. Baalde in Amsterdam and J. van Schoonhoven & co. in Utrecht). An earlier (1773) French translation is comparatively faithful to Niebuhr's Beschreibung. This finding is important as it undermines any attempt to directly criticize Heron for deviations from Niebuhr's original sentiments: many of these were not his own editorial decisions but, instead, reflected the choices of the French translator.65

Heron did heavily annotate the work, however, comparing Niebuhr's observations with the accounts of other travelers. This inclusion of cross-references and comparisons was his key contribution. For example, one of Heron's notes asserts that Niebuhr's opinions on Turkish navigation are supported by "Savary, particularly in his letters on Greece; by De Tott; and by every traveller or voyager who has visited the Levant, or the Arabic Gulf."66 In this way, Heron provided a commentary that situated Niebuhr's observations relative to the wider stock of travel literature sold by his bookseller patrons, rendering them directly comparable.

Heron also intentionally produced an entertaining work that would have popular appeal. Niebuhr's original preface was replaced by Heron's explanation that the source text was "addressed so exclusively to men of erudition," whereas [End Page 99] his translation was for "the public in general."67 His favored translation style is explained in his preface to a French chemistry text he translated for Elliot in 1790:

some degree of vivacity, can have no bad effects. The translator, therefore, while he was studious to express faithfully the sense of his author, wished also to preserve, nay, would have been glad to improve, the energy and liveliness of his style.68

He followed the same policy for Niebuhr's Travels, and Heron's popular writing style may have been successful in transmitting Niebuhr's observations beyond an exclusive group of "men of erudition." According to Niebuhr's biographer, Heron's translation was hardly faithful to the original, but it ensured that the Travels Through Arabia were so "extensively circulated" that they could be found "in the possession of many country people," and "even in the Isle of Mull."69

Bell and Bradfute sold no copies of the first (1792) edition, perhaps because it was published as a collaboration between the Morisons of Perth and a different Edinburgh bookseller, George Mudie. There was also a 1792 Dublin edition. The second (1799) Perth edition, however, was stocked by Bell and Bradfute, and they sold at least six sets of the two-volume work. Three of those six sets were added to the personalized collections of some of Bell and Bradfute's regular customers. James Jollie Esquire bought the two volumes of Heron's Niebuhr on 24 March 1803, to add to his previous purchases in 1802–1803 of a geographical grammar and seven volumes of travel books, including compilations of James Cook's voyages. Major Kelso of Dankeith seems to have had a regional interest, as he bought Heron's Niebuhr from Bell and Bradfute on November 23, 1801 at the same time as Patrick Brydon's Tour Through Sicily and Malta (1773), Henry Maundrell's Journey from Aleppo to Jerusalem (1803), and Volney's Travels Through Egypt and Syria (1787). On January 18, 1800, William Hope Weir Esq bought the two Niebuhr volumes, adding to his collection of travel accounts such as François Le Vaillant's Travels in Africa (1790), Sarah Murray's Guide to the Beauties of Scotland (1799), and another two volumes by Heron: his Scottish Journey (1793). Hope Weir had also bought compilations such as William Russell's five-volume History of Modern Europe (1786), and an edition of William Guthrie's Geographical Grammar.

Through the booksellers, then, people could compile their own personal collections of worldly knowledge, adding Heron's translation of Niebuhr to a range of apparently disparate but in some cases directly comparable sources. Moreover, Hope Weir's purchase of the Grammar and James Jollie's preference for edited collections of travel literature point to another way in which information about Arabia was juxtaposed with other travelers' observations. Heron's translations featured in various published compilations, like these grammars, where they were presented side-by-side with other travelers' observations, and through which they reached an even larger and more diverse audience. Heron's Niebuhr translation also found its way into Edinburgh's elite learning institutions, as we will see.


Geographical grammars were always among the Edinburgh booksellers' bestsellers. As (re)assemblages of geographical claims, these compilations entered into a multitude of different social assemblages. Every child of at least moderate [End Page 100] social status was expected to learn from and potentially even memorize and recite entire passages of them. The wide-ranging, comprehensive form of such works, along with their easy reference structure, appealed to all ages, however.70 They could prepare people for a minimum level of polite conversation about the world, ensuring that readers were equipped with a remark or two about, say, the nomadic tribes of Arabia, without having to read entire travel books. The size and structure of the grammar could facilitate both a casual glance and rigorous memorization in a way that a mass of travelers' accounts could not. For Bruno Latour, compilation, which entails both intellectual and material processes, is at the end-point of the scale of translations through which information is "simplified, punctualized, and summarized."71 At each stage, "something is gained because each translation shuffles the connections between the elements."72 He suggests that this gain "is on the paper form itself."73 For Latour, once seemingly disparate phenomena have been presented side-by-side in a standard format, they become similar and, crucially, comparable: "it is literally as close as one piece of paper is from another in a book."74 This ease of comparison, and the ability to make universal claims having consulted information on all the world's nations, was crucial for Enlightenment reasoning. It was through compilations that travelers' observations came to be presented and shared as factual information, and it was for this reason that Wollstonecraft lamented that travel writers' misrepresentations "have served as materials for the compilers of universal histories."75 A 1798 edition of Guthrie's Grammar contains comments which seem to come directly from Niebuhr, for example that the "pure" Arabic was not widespread and, like Latin and Greek in European schools, only taught in elite learning institutions.76

Heron himself produced a number of compilations. In 1792 he was the translator and compiler of The New Universal Traveller; Or A Collection of Late Voyages and Travels … Chiefly Translated and Abridged from the French and Other Foreign Languages, published by G. Mudie and James Watson in Edinburgh. This 900-page, two-volume work—which in his "Journal" he referred to as "my Traveller"—combined and aligned dozens of travel accounts, including Niebuhr's Arabian observations, so that they could be easily compared. Susan Pickford and Alison Martin suggest that Heron's Traveller was distinguished from its many competitor compilations by "its considerable use of translation to extend the range of travel literature that could be presented to an Anglophone readership."77 But his was not just a linguistic translation: Heron sometimes changed the form and structure of texts to make them consistent and comparable. For example, he converted John Matthews' Voyage to the River Sierra-Leone (1788) from a series of letters into continuous prose. He also included in the Traveller a 150-page extract of Niebuhr's accounts of Arabia before he had prepared the full, authoritative "translation," presenting it in the form and structure demanded of his compilation.78 Heron's abridgement of Niebuhr was praised and heavily extracted in The Historical Magazine.79 The English Review noted that Niebuhr's account had "never yet been translated into English; and the abridgement of it, therefore, forms a valuable part."80

It seems to have been Arabia and the surrounding regions that interested Heron most in the 1790s, since the entire second volume of the New Universal Traveller was devoted to Niebuhr and others. In 1797, this second volume on [End Page 101] "Persia, Arabia, Turkey, &c." was re-published in a new edition by Watson in Edinburgh and J. Hamilton in London as A Collection of Late Voyages and Travels, Chiefly Translated and Abridged from the French and Other Foreign Publications of Neibuhr [sic], Mariti, Beauchamp, &c. &c. Heron admitted that he had intended to cover Asia as a whole, but that he had "filled up our limits with information respecting" the nations of the Near East.81 He prefaced this collection by asserting "the necessity of forming from time to time collections of works which, singly, are often of a transient and fugitive nature, to prevent their being lost alike to the general and the scientific reader."82 He made these travelers' observations accessible, comparable, and useful to Enlightened readers.

Crucially, Heron's translations also informed other compilations, such as Alexander Adam's Summary of Geography and History, both Ancient and Modern (1794). As the Rector of Edinburgh's High School, Adam took detailed notes from "Heron's translation of Niebuhr" when preparing his own textbook for publication.83 The Summary describes the Bedouin Arabs in most detail, chiming with the Heronian description of their culture as unchanged over centuries. Perhaps inspired by a passage in Heron's Niebuhr translation on Arabian "Mullachs" (public storytellers), Adam wrote: "The Arabs have no books … All their literature consists in reciting tales and histories in the manner of the Arabian Nights Entertainment, of which they are remarkably fond."84 Adam himself used the Summary in the lessons he delivered at Edinburgh's High School, at which verbal recitation and repetition were common practices for inculcating knowledge during this period.85 This kind of performance of a text in an educational institution such as the High School surely mediated its meaning, minimizing the partiality of a traveler's observations, and presenting information about the world as digestible facts to be learned. The High School was a well-regarded seat of learning, attended by boys of wealthy families, associated with a particular form of intellectual rigor, where physical punishment was commonplace; it was generally a route to an academic, professional, political, or military career.

Edinburgh High School students were not the only people who learned from the Summary and the summarized Heron translations. According to Adam's biographer, the book "was received with avidity, and large impressions were sold."86 Its popularity was due to Adam's skill in "condensing valuable matter within a limited compass."87 Bell and Bradfute sold 316 copies of the Summary, many of which went to booksellers elsewhere in Britain and North America, while others were bought by students, teachers, and schoolmasters. For example, John Cooper of Dalmeny School near Edinburgh bought Adam's Summary from Bell and Bradfute in September 1795. Cooper taught both sexes—girls made up a quarter (325 of 1,317) of his pupils between 1792 and 1810—and he taught students whose addresses were listed in Norway, Hamburg, Ireland, Denmark, Belfast, Plymouth, Grenada, and Jamaica.88 Cooper educated the Georgian middle classes involved in empire, slavery, and trade.89 These examples of the kinds of people who learned about Arabia indicate the sheer variety of contexts in which that knowledge may have been consciously or unconsciously put to use once Niebuhr's observations had been selectively translated into English by Heron, then abridged and incorporated into popular compilations. [End Page 102]

There is also a key point to be made about how Heron's translating and compiling practices changed the status of sources of knowledge about Arabia. His selective translation of both narrative fiction and informative travel literature implied a kind of equivalence between the two. He presented the Tales as informationally valuable: it was "A most interesting View of the Religion, Laws, Manners, Customs, Arts, and Literature of the Nations of the East," and "a body of valuable information, concerning the religion, manners, customs, characters, and principles of action displayed among the inhabitants of a great part of Asia."90 The introduction also aligned the Tales with the travel writing genre, rhetorically describing it as "the narrative of another journey to explore the wide regions of the East, with which we are in general but very little acquainted."91 This raised the epistemological status of the Tales and relates to his raising of their moral tone. Martha Conant has shown that, up to the 1790s, oriental tales such as the Arabian Nights had a primarily imaginative power and function;92 but Heron's 1792 translation presented such tales as a respectable source of knowledge of Arabia, especially when verified by Niebuhr's travel account.

Crucially, Heron invited direct comparison between Niebuhr and the Tales. For example, when, in the Tales, a woman's teeth are compared to "the enamel which glitters on the pearls of the Red-sea and the Persian gulph," Heron inserts a note to explain: "The coasts of the Persian Gulph are inhabited, at present, by tribes of Arabs, supposed to be the Ichthyophagi of ancient writers; who are so much employed in the pearl fishery.—See Niebuehr's [sic] travels, vol. II. translated by R. Heron."93 When a character "swear[s] by the Caaba," Heron's note explains that this is: "A black stone in the temple at Mecca, which is worshipped by the Mahometans. See Niebuhr's travels."94 Recall, too, Heron's verification of the Tales' authenticity on the grounds that the material was "all Oriental."95 Heron noticed nothing in the Tales that had "slipped from a Frenchman's pen."96 But Heron's knowledge of Arabia came via French translations, and he relied on a French-language version of Niebuhr's travels to verify the fictional narratives. The one had more epistemic value than the other, but we can follow Leask here in emphasizing the connections between the "Voyages and Travels" genre and more literary, imaginative texts—the two were in dialogue.97 Heron played a key role in promoting equivalence and enabling comparison between them.


The Edinburgh booksellers' records considered here have been shown to be rich sources for precisely identifying key moments in translation, but also for tracing the long-term complexity of translation, and for following the circulation of translated knowledge in and from the city. Heron's translations transformed the ways and forms in which knowledge of Arabia was shared and used in Edinburgh and beyond. He was not newly translating information for European audiences; many of the texts he worked with were already available in earlier English editions (in the case of the Arabian Tales) or in other more familiar European languages (in the case of both the Arabian Tales and Niebuhr's Travels). His skill and, from the booksellers' perspective, commercial function was in producing new texts that were accessible stylistically, structurally, materially, and linguistically—or, in other words, [End Page 103] his books were entertaining, simply organized, cheap, and in English. His translations were more digestible for Edinburgh audiences than the source texts, retaining some of the exoticism and novelty necessary to inspire curiosity but in a familiar tone and format. Heron made knowledge of Arabia more functional by devising inscriptions that were more combinable, transferrable, and comparable. He even enabled comparisons between different genres of books. In doing so, he contributed an account of Arabia that could be compared with accounts of other places; and by contributing knowledge of Arabia to the stock of worldly knowledge—adding it to the compilation—Heron updated the commonly agreed structuring or mapping of the world on which other concepts, arguments, beliefs, and actions could be based. It was these processes of abstraction and compilation that enabled key Enlightenment processes of reasoning, including of the Scottish philosophers who relied on cultural comparisons in the construction of their arguments. Heron's was therefore a crucial contribution to Enlightenment Edinburgh, and the study of his translation in context reveals the weaknesses and contingencies of the processes of reasoning that came to define this Enlightenment capital.

Phil Dodds

Phil Dodds is Lecturer in Cultural Studies at the Bader International Study Centre, Queen's University, Canada. He wishes to thank Dean Bond, Alison Martin, and Tawny Paul for their advice about various details in the article, and Charles Withers for his comments on an early draft. He is grateful, too, to two anonymous reviewers and to the editors of this journal for their support in preparing the manuscript for publication. Thanks are also due to the generous audience of the "Scotland in Translation" lecture series at Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz for their feedback on a version of this paper.


1. Neil Safier, Measuring the New World: Enlightenment Science and South America (London: Univ. of Chicago Press, 2008), especially 201–35; Stefanie Stockhorst ed., Cultural Transfer through Translation: The Circulation of Enlightened Thought in Europe by Means of Translation (Amsterdam: Rodopi, 2010); László Kontler, Translations, Histories, Enlightenments: William Robertson in Germany, 1760–1795 (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2014).

2. Madeleine Dobie, "Translation in the Contact Zone: Antoine Galland's Mille et Une Nuits: Contes Arabes," in The Arabian Nights in Historical Context: Between East and West, ed. Saree Makdisi and Felicity Nussbaum (Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press, 2008), 48.

3. Charles W. J. Withers and Paul Wood, "Afterword: New Directions," in Science and Medicine in the Scottish Enlightenment, ed. Charles W. J. Withers and Paul Wood (Rochester: Rochester Univ. Press, 2002), 332–3.

4. Withers and Wood, "New Directions," 334.

5. See David Allan, "Provincial Readers and Book Culture in the Scottish Enlightenment: The Perth Library, 1784–c.1800," Library 3, no. 4 (2002): 367–89; Richard B. Sher, The Enlightenment and the Book: Scottish Authors and Their Publishers in Eighteenth-Century Britain, Ireland, and America (Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press, 2006); and James Raven, The Business of Books: Booksellers and the English Book Trade 1450–1850 (New Haven and London: Yale Univ. Press, 2007).

6. For example: Saree Makdisi and Felicity Nussbaum eds., The Arabian Nights in Historical Context: Between East and West (Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press, 2008); Philip F. Kennedy and Marina Warner eds., Scheherazade's Children: Global Encounters with the Arabian Nights (New York: New York Univ. Press, 2013); Padma Rangarajan, Imperial Babel: Translation, Exoticism, and the Long Nineteenth Century (New York: Fordham Univ. Press, 2014).

7. Ros Ballaster, "The Sea-Born Tale: Eighteenth-Century English Translations of The Thousand and One Nights and the Lure of Elemental Difference," in Philip F. Kennedy and Marina Warner eds., Scheherazade's Children: Global Encounters with the Arabian Nights (New York: New York Univ. Press, 2013): 27–52.

8. Chi-ming Yang, "Eighteenth-Century Easts and Wests: Introduction," Eighteenth-Century Studies 47, no. 2 (2014): 97.

9. Bruno Latour, Science in Action: How to Follow Scientists and Engineers Through Society (Cambridge, MA: Harvard Univ. Press, 1987), 236.

10. For example, in Nigel Leask, British Romantic Writers and the East: Anxieties of Empire (Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press, 1992); and Tarek Shamma, Translation and the Manipulation of Difference: Arabic Literature in Nineteenth-Century England (London: Routledge, 2014).

11. Sher, Enlightenment and the Book, 111–13.

12. The Charles Elliot business ledgers are in the National Library of Scotland, MSS.43908–4101. These are indexed (in MS.43908) and so are searchable by customer name. On Elliot, see Warren McDougall, "Charles Elliot and the London Booksellers in the Early Years," in The Human Face of the Book Trade, ed. Peter Isaac and Barry McKay (Winchester, 1999), 81–96; and Warren McDougall, "Charles Elliot's Medical Publications and the International Book Trade," in Science and Medicine in the Scottish Enlightenment, ed. Charles W. J. Withers and Paul Wood (Rochester: Rochester Univ. Press, 2002), 215–54.

13. William Zachs, The First John Murray and the Late Eighteenth-Century London Book Trade, With a Checklist of his Publications (Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press, 1998), 91.

14. William Zachs, "The Business Papers of Bell and Bradfute," in The Edinburgh History of the Book in Scotland Volume 2: Enlightenment and Expansion 1707–1800, ed. Stephen W. Brown and Warren McDougall (Edinburgh: Edinburgh Univ. Press, 2012), 143–55.

15. The Bell and Bradfute booksellers' "day books" are in Edinburgh City Archives, SL138/7/1–15. These are organised chronologically and so are searchable by date.

16. Robert Heron's "Journal of My Conduct" is in the Univ. of Edinburgh library, La.III.272. It has also been edited by Edward J. Cowan and published as "The Journal of Robert Heron," Review of Scottish Culture, 27 (2015): 108–31, but all references to it here are my own transcriptions of a grammatically non-standard text. On Heron, see also Catherine Carswell, "Heron: A Study in Failure," The Scots Magazine 18 (1932): 37–48; Adam Abraham Mendilow, "Robert Heron and Wordsworth's Critical Essays," The Modern Language Review 52, no. 3 (1957): 329–3; and Edward J. Cowan, "Robert Heron of New Galloway (1764–1807): Enlightened Ethnologist," Review of Scottish Culture 26 (2014): 25–41.

17. Thomas Murray, The Literary History of Galloway, from the Earliest Period to the Present Time (Edinburgh: Waugh and Innes, 1822), 275.

18. Sher, Enlightenment and the Book, 127–28.

19. Elliot sold a copy of it to Professor Adam Ferguson, the philosopher and historian, in August 1788.

20. "Records of the Canongate Tolbooth," 15 June 1793 and 17 July 1793, SL150/3/3, Edinburgh City Archives.

21. Alexander Bevilacqua, The Republic of Arabic Letters: Islam and the European Enlightenment, (Cambridge, MA: Harvard Univ. Press, 2018).

22. Bevilacqua, Republic of Arabic Letters, 202.

23. Humberto Garcia, Islam and the English Enlightenment, 1670–1840 (Baltimore MA: John Hopkins Univ. Press, 2012).

24. Bevilacqua, Republic of Arabic Letters, 168.

25. Nigel Leask, Curiosity and the Aesthetics of Travel Writing, 1770–1840: "from an Antique Land," (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002).

26. Jonathan Sheehan, The Enlightenment Bible: Translation, Scholarship, Culture (Princeton NJ: Princeton Univ. Press, 2013), 197.

27. Encyclopædia Britannica; or, A Dictionary of Arts and Sciences, 3rd ed., 18 vols. (Edinburgh: A. Bell and C. Macfarquhar, 1797), 2:149.

28. Jürgen Osterhammel, Unfabling the East: The Enlightenment's Encounter with Asia (Princeton, NJ: Princeton Univ. Press, 2018), 323.

29. Niebuhr [Heron], Travels Through Arabia, 2:433.

30. See Phil Dodds, "'One Vast Empire': China, Progress, and the Scottish Enlightenment," Global Intellectual History 3: no. 1 (2018): 1–24.

31. Niebuhr [Heron], Travels Through Arabia, 2:433.

32. Mary Ann Hanway, A Journey to the Highlands of Scotland. With Occasional Remarks on Dr. Johnson's Tour: by a Lady (London: Fielding and Walker, 1777), vi.

33. Robert Heron, trans., Arabian Tales, 4 vols. (Edinburgh: printed for Bell & Bradfute, J. Dickson, E. Balfour, and P. Hill; and G. G. J. & J. Robinson, London, 1792), 1:ix–xii.

34. Bridget Orr, "Galland, Georgian Theatre, and the Creation of Popular Orientalism," in The Arabian Nights in Historical Context: Between East and West, ed. Saree Makdisi and Felicity Nussbaum (Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press, 2008), 103.

35. Khalid Bekkaoui, "White Women and Moorish Fancy in Eighteenth-Century Literature," in The Arabian Nights in Historical Context: Between East and West, ed. Saree Makdisi and Felicity Nussbaum (Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press, 2008), 154. See also Robert Irwin, "The Arabian Nights and the Origins of the Western Novel," in Scheherazade's Children: Global Encounters with the Arabian Nights, ed. Philip F. Kennedy and Marina Warner (New York: New York University Press, 2013), pp. 143–53; and Mary Helen McMurran, The Spread of Novels: Translation and Prose Fiction in the Eighteenth Century (Princeton, NJ: Princeton Univ. Press, 2009).

36. See Robert Irwin, The Arabian Nights: A Companion (London: Allen Lane, The Penguin Press, 1994); Muhsin S. Mahdi, The Thousand and One Nights (Leiden: Brill, 1995); Dobie, "Translation in the Contact Zone."

37. Srinivas Aravamudan, "East-West Fiction as World Literature: The Hayy Problem Reconfigured," Eighteenth-Century Studies 47: no. 2 (2014): 196.

38. Robert Heron ed., A Collection of Late Voyages and Travels (Edinburgh: Watson & Co., 1797), 2.

39. William Jones, Poems Consisting Chiefly of Translations from the Asiatick (Oxford: Clarendon, 1772), ii. See Michael J. Franklin, 'Orientalist Jones': Sir William Jones, Poet, Lawyer, and Linguist, 1746–1794 (Oxford: Oxford Univ, Press, 2011).

40. Jones, Poems, 174.

41. Jones, Poems, 182; 179.

42. Robert Heron, Observations Made in a Journey Through the Western Counties of Scotland 2 vols. (Perth: printed by R. Morison junior. For R. Morison and son; Bell and Bradfute, Edinburgh; and Vernor and Hood, London, 1793), 2:243.

43. Alexander Young, "The Young Manuscript", in Robert Burns, His Associates and Contemporaries: The Train, Grierson, Young and Hope Manuscripts, ed. Robert T. Fitzhugh (Chapel Hill: Univ. of North Carolina Press, 1943), 77–78.

44. Heron, Arabian Tales, 1:xviii.

45. Alexader Fraser Tytler, Essay on the Principles of Translation (London: Printed for T. Cadell and W, Davies; and W. Creech, Edinburgh, 1797), 8.

46. Tytler, Translation, 200–01.

47. Tytler, Translation, 17; 23.

48. Tytler, Translation, 14. Italics in original.

49. Tytler, Translation, 15.

50. On the development of expurgation or bowdlerization in the eighteenth century, see Noel Perrin, Dr. Bowdler's Legacy: A History of Expurgated Books in England and America (New York: Athenuem, 1969). On the bowdlerization of Arabian tales, see Brian Alderson, "Scheherazade in the Nursery," in The Arabian Nights in English Literature: Studies in the Reception of the Thousand and One Nights into British Culture, ed. Peter L. Caracciolo (Basingstoke: Macmillan, 1988), 81–93; and Mark Muehlhaeusler, "Oriental Tales in 18th-Century Manuscripts … and in English Translation," Middle Eastern Literatures 16, no. 2 (2013): 200.

51. Heron, trans., Arabian Tales, 1:vi. On the erotic power of the earlier versions of the Arabian Tales, see Bekkaoui, "White Women and Moorish Fancy."

52. Heron, Arabian Tales, 1:vi.

53. Muehlhaeusler, "Oriental Tales."

54. See Janet Starkey, The Scottish Enlightenment Abroad: The Russells of Braidshaw in Aleppo and on the Coast of Coromandel (Leiden: Brill, 2018), 386.

55. Heron, Arabian Tales, 1:xv.

56. Heron, Arabian Tales, 1:xvi.

57. Heron, Journey Through Western Scotland, backmatter.

58. Dean W. Bond, "Enlightenment Geography in the Study: AF Büsching, JD Michaelis and the Place of Geographical Knowledge in the Royal Danish Expedition to Arabia, 1761–1767," Journal of Historical Geography 51 (2016): 64–75.

59. See Ib Friis, Michael Harbsmeier, and Jørgen Baek Simonsen eds., Early Scientific Expeditions and Local Encounters. New Perspectives on Carsten Niebuhr and 'The Arabian Journey': Proceedings of a Symposium on the Occasion of the 250th Anniversary of the Royal Danish Expedition to Arabia Felix (Copenhagen: Det Kongelige Danske Videnskabernes Selskab, 2013); Sverker Sörlin, "Science, Empire, and Enlightenment: Geographies of Northern Field Science," European Review of History: Revue Européenne d'Histoire 13, no. 3 (2006): 455–72.

60. Osterhammel, Unfabling the East, 92. See also Han F. Vermeulen, Before Boas: The Genesis of Ethnography and Ethnology in the German Enlightenment (Lincoln: Univ. of Nebraska Press, 2015).

61. Osterhammel, Unfabling the East, 323.

62. Bevilacqua, Republic of Arabic Letters, 174.

63. The differences between the original German and Heron's English version of Niebuhr are listed in a recent master's dissertation. See Sebastian William Bernburg, "Lost in Translation: Carsten Niebuhr, Robert Heron, and Orientalism in the Eighteenth Century" (MA diss., The George Washington Univ., 2017) [available at:].

64. Heron's preface to Carsten Niebuhr, Travels Through Arabia, and Other Countries in the East, trans. Robert Heron, 2 vols. (Edinburgh, printed for Morison and Son, Perth; G. Mudie, Edinbugh; and T. Vernor, London, 1792), 1:xii.

65. For example: Barthold G. Niebuhr, The Life of Carsten Niebuhr, the Oriental Traveller, trans. A. Robinson (Edinburgh: T. Clark, 1836); Bernburg, "Lost in Translation."

66. Niebuhr [Heron], Travels Through Arabia, 1:415.

67. Niebuhr [Heron], Travels Through Arabia, 1:xii.

68. Heron's preface to Antoine François, comte de Fourcroy, Elements of Natural History and Chemistry, trans. Robert Heron, 3 vols. (Edinburgh: C. Elliot, 1790), 1:xx.

69. B. G. Niebuhr, Life of Niebuhr, 58.

70. See Robert Mayhew, "William Guthrie's Geographical Grammar, the Scottish Enlightenment and the Politics of British Geography," The Scottish Geographical Journal 115, no. 1 (1999): 19–34.

71. Latour, Science in Action, 241.

72. Latour, Science in Action, 238.

73. Latour, Science in Action, 236. Italics in original.

74. Latour, Science in Action, 244.

75. Mary Wollstonecraft, Letters Written During a Short Residence in Sweden, Norway, and Den-mark (London: Printed for J. Johnson, 1796), 58.

76. William Guthrie, A New Geographical, Historical, and Commercial Grammar [17th ed.] (London: printed for Charles Dilly; and G.G. and J. Robinson, 1798).

77. Susan Pickford and Alison Martin, "Introduction: Travel Writing, Translation and World Literature," InTRAlinea Special Issue: Translating 18th and 19th Century European Travel Writing (2013), no pagination,

78. On such themes, see Innes M. Keighren, Charles W. J. Withers, and Bill Bell, Travels Into Print: Exploration, Writing, and Publishing with John Murray, 1773–1859 (Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press, 2015).

79. "Review of Historical Books," The Historical Magazine 42 (April 1792): 117–25.

80. "Heron's New Universal Traveller," The English Review 12 (1793): 43–47.

81. Heron ed., Late Voyages and Travels, v–vi.

82. Heron ed., Late Voyages and Travels, v.

83. "Notes for the Summary of Geography and History," Records of Royal High School, Rector's Papers, SL137/4/1/3/1, Edinburgh City Archives.

84. Alexander Adam, Summary of Geography and History, both Ancient and Modern (Edinburgh: Printed for T. Cadell and A. Strahan, London, 1794), 634. The relevant passage in Niebuhr [Heron], Travels, is on pp. 215–16.

85. Alexander Henderson, An Account of the Life and Character of Alexander Adam, LL.D., Rector of the High School of Edinburgh (Edinburgh: Printed by D. Schaw and Son, 1810); see also Robert J. Mayhew, "Geography in Eighteenth-Century British Education," Paedagogica Historica 34, no. 3 (1998): 731–69.

86. Henderson, Alexander Adam, 85.

87. Henderson, Alexander Adam, 85.

88. "Lists of scholars 1792–1853," Dalmeny Kirk Session School Records, CH2/86/14, National Records of Scotland.

89. See Paul A. Elliott and Stephen Daniels, "'No Study So Agreeable to the Youthful Mind': Geographical Education in the Georgian Grammar School," History of Education 39, no. 1 (2010): 15–33.

90. Heron, Arabian Tales, 1:xxiii.

91. Heron, Arabian Tales, 1:xxiii.

92. Martha Pike Conant, The Oriental Tale in England in the Eighteenth Century (Abingdon: Routledge, 1967).

93. Heron, Arabian Tales, 1:22.

94. Heron, Arabian Tales, 1:65.

95. Heron, Arabian Tales, 1:xv.

96. Heron, Arabian Tales, 1:xvi.

97. Leask, "From an Antique Land."

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