Latest Posts

“Looking for the Longitude”

“Looking for the Longitude”

Longitude was a hot topic in eighteenth-century Britain. “Looking for the Longitude” brings together a series of images and commentaries to consider how people experienced the longitude debate in eighteenth-century London.

Sheffield: Print, Protest and Poetry, 1790-1810

<em>Sheffield: Print, Protest and Poetry, 1790-1810</em>

Sheffield: Print, Protest and Poetry, 1790-1810 is an ever-growing digital anthology of protest poetry printed in Sheffield’s radical press at the end of the eighteenth century.

Directed by Dr Hamish Mathison and researched by Dr Adam James Smith, the anthology was born of an AHRC-funded cultural engagement project focusing on the full collections of The Sheffield Register (1787-1794) and The Sheffield Iris (1794-1825) newspapers held in University Library Special Collections. The Register was edited by Joseph Gales, the Iris by Sheffield’s legendary poet and prolific champion of cause, James Montgomery.

The Marquis d’Argens: A Philosophical Life

<em>The Marquis d’Argens: A Philosophical Life</em>

The Marquis d’Argens (1704-1772) is mainly famous for a book he did not write, Thérèse Philosophe. That is a great pity, as the books he did actually write are far more fascinating and entertaining than that unfortunate misattribution. D’Argens was a sceptic, a thorn in the side of the Catholic Church, whose books were denounced by the Inquisition; one of them, La Philosophie du Bon-Sens, was burnt in Paris. He was also a close friend of Voltaire, and belonged to the generation that is often overshadowed by that towering genius.

We Want You to Get Involved with The 18th-Century Common

We Want You to Get Involved with <em>The 18th-Century Common</em>

We’re excited to announce new ways to get involved in The 18th-Century Common, the public humanities website for nonacademic, nonstudent enthusiasts of 18th-century studies. There are two kinds of posts on The 18th-Century Common: Features posts and Gazette posts. Read more about these ways of getting involved in The 18th-Century Common; our Get Involved page includes tutorials on nominating content with the Twitter hashtag #18common, and on using PressForward to create Gazette posts. Contact the editors at [email protected] with questions, proposals for Features or Gazette posts, interest in serving as (or assigning your students to serve as) Gazette Contributors, or interest in becoming a Collection Curator.

The Adventures of an 18th-Century Common Post

The Adventures of an <em>18th-Century Common</em> Post

In 2015 I wrote a Features post for The 18th-Century Common because I will never pass up an opportunity to tell the world about James Bruce, the verbose Scottish explorer who traveled to Abyssinia in the 1760s in search of the source of the Nile. But beyond the instant satisfaction of sharing something I find fascinating, contributing to a public humanities website turned out to be worthwhile for other reasons:

It was an opportunity to practice translating my research. In Fall 2015 I was on the job market, faced with the tasks of describing what I study to people outside my field, articulating how I make it interesting and relevant in undergraduate classes, and advocating for its intellectual and social impact. Reworking even a small piece of my project for a public audience helped me start developing language and examples to communicate its exigency.

Open-Access Anne Finch Digital Archive

Open-Access <em>Anne Finch Digital Archive</em>

The Anne Finch Digital Archive complements the print edition of Anne Finch’s works, forthcoming from Cambridge University Press. Materials on the open-access Anne Finch Digital Archive enable users to explore the archival elements of Finch’s texts. The featured poems on this site have been selected from a great number in Finch’s œuvre to illustrate her work in different poetic kinds, including song, fable, biblical paraphrase, translation, verse epistle, and devotional poetry. For every featured poem, the site includes commentary with embedded links to illustrations, information about composition and printing dates and sources, audio files of the poem read aloud, and source copies showing authorized manuscript and print texts with transcriptions. We will continue to add resources to the site, including recordings of musical performances of the songs featured. The multimedia elements of this site reflect the various ways that Finch’s work engaged her contemporary readers and listeners, who knew her work in manuscript, print, or performance, or in all of these forms.

Open Anthologies and the 18th-Century Reader

Open Anthologies and the 18th-Century Reader

As any reader of The 18th-Century Common knows, the last quarter century has witnessed the astonishing digitization of thousands of texts from the past: novels, poems, essays, histories, plays, many of them available for free. For scholars, the creation of this Digital Republic of Learning has (on the whole) been a boon, enabling new modes of inquiry that could barely have been imagined a generation ago. For students, however, the digitization of the archive has been a more mixed blessing. As newcomers to the field, students can very easily find themselves overwhelmed by the sheer abundance of material that shows up in the simple Google search that is likely to be their first means of access. Students are unlikely to know how to judge of the quality or authenticity of what they find, or to be able to recognize the difference between a well-edited text and something with virtually no authority whatsoever. Our projects intend to improve the quality of eighteenth-century texts available for students, general readers, and scholars, and to enlist students in the project of producing them.

The Letters of Hannah More: A Digital Edition

<em>The Letters of Hannah More: A Digital Edition</em>

The Letters of Hannah More: A Digital Edition brings together for the first time the fascinating letters written by the celebrated playwright, poet, philanthropist, moralist and educationalist Hannah More (1745-1833).

More was one of the most important voices of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. At the heart of a complex and extensive network of politicians, bishops, writers, and evangelical Christians which included figures such as William Wilberforce, Samuel Johnson and Elizabeth Montagu, More sought to redefine and reshape the social and moral values of the age.