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Department of Philosophy


Publication details for Professor Matthew Daniel Eddy

Eddy, M. (2010). The Alphabets of Nature: Children, Books and Natural History in Scotland, circa 1750-1800. Nuncius 25(1): 1-22.

Author(s) from Durham


This essay examines the kinds of textbooks that were used to teach natural knowledge to children in eighteenth-century Scotland. Following Roger Chartier's belief that the forms and uses of print can be employed to categorise the content of texts, I focus on three groups of books that were used in specific settings: (1) homes, academies and parish schools; (2) social and professional settings where adolescents worked; (3) and high schools. I do not take these groupings to be definitive, but more as a preliminary categorisation. Along the way I treat various historiographic points relevant to the canon of Scottish pedagogy and I comment on some issues relevant to the instruction of girls. I conclude by calling for more studies that address how and where children's books were used during the Enlightenment.