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Title: The Midlands Enlightenment : the literary aspect
Author: Kelly, Jennifer Anne.
Awarding Body: Birkbeck (University of London)
Current Institution: Birkbeck (University of London)
Date of Award: 2002
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This thesis examines the specifically literary aspects of the Midlands Enlightenment. This movement of cultural, social, political, and economic modernisation took place in the Midlands in the late eighteenth century. The movement involved leaders in many fields of culture, science, technology, and commercial enterprise. A major channel for its development and dissemination wiS literary. The rise of the reading public ensured a wide readership for literary works and lent high cultural status to the enlightenment project, for those involved in this movement appropriated many literary genres to their cause. The thesis consists of an introduction, describing the Midlands Enlightenment, followed by chapters on key figures, their circles, and their writings: Erasmus Darwin, Anna Seward, Richard Lovell Edgeworth and Maria Edgeworth, and Robert Bage. The Industrial Revolution in Britain had its origins in the Midlands, led by members of the Midlands Enlightenment, including Matthew Boulton, James Watt, James Keir, Joseph priestley, Josiah Wedgwood. These men were all members of the Lunar Society of Birmingham and they made major contributions to science, technology, commerce, and education, as well as contributing to a growing regional political consciousness. Their ideas on many kinds of social, cultural, political, and economic reform were discussed and disseminated not only through such circles as the Lunar society but also through writing of various kinds, including educational treatises, poems, novels, scientific reports, and other kinds of literature. Women were also able to participate in this enlightenment through print culture and education. The thesis will show how the incorporation of the ideas of the Midlands Enlightenment required innovation in literary form as well as theme and content. The thesis will constitute historical recuperation and increase understanding of the way writing and literature were implicated in broader social, political, and economic development.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Eighteenth century Literature Mass media Performing arts History