Introduction – Alex Benchimol, Rhona Brown and David Shuttleton
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Before Blackwood’s: Scottish Journalism in the Age of Enlightenment is the outcome of a unique symposium hosted by the University of Glasgow in 2010, which brought together leading and emerging researchers in the elds of Scottish historical studies, Scottish Enlightenment studies, Romantic studies and Scottish literary studies more generally to map the manner in which the periodical culture of Scotland helped to fundamentally shape the nation’s literary and political public sphere in the long eighteenth century. e study of the unique intellectual, material and institutional networks of the Scottish Enlightenment has become a key concern for scholars, particularly in the elds of intellectual and social history, beginning in the 1970s.1 Since that time, this ground-breaking conceptual work on the Scottish Enlightenment has been joined by scholarship engaging with the literary and cultural dimensions of Scotland’s national public sphere in the period by those who have recently been exploring the rich material history of Scotland’s print culture in the eighteenth century, from its pioneering group of patriotic booksellers to those Scottish publishers who helped to shape the distinctive periodical concerns of the nation’s magazines, reviews and newspapers.2 Taken together, this scholarship has established new trajectories in the cultural history of the British Isles, from the Act of Union in 1707 to the thriving periodical culture of the early nineteenth-century metropolitan public sphere , highlighted in recent landmark studies of Scottish Romanticism.3