William Cullen's exemplary retirement: the art of ageing in Enlightenment Scotland

Corrie, Jane Anne (2017) William Cullen's exemplary retirement: the art of ageing in Enlightenment Scotland. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

Full text available as:
Download (5MB) | Preview


This thesis looks at the subject of old age and retirement in the later years of the Scottish Enlightenment. These subjects are examined in relation to the final years of the physician and natural philosopher, Professor William Cullen (1710–1790). The Cullen Consultation Correspondence digital database (http://cullenproject.ac.uk/) is used to examine letters between the doctor and some of his elderly patients and a study of the botanical materia medica prescribed for this patient group is made. There follows an examination of Cullen’s personal retirement project, his improved farm and designed landscape at Ormiston Hill in West Lothian. The thesis examines the double meaning of the word ‘retirement’, both in its eighteenth-century sense as a retirement from active life, and its modern sense as the concern of old age. Even if Cullen’s notion of old age and retirement represented the concerns of an elite, it carried with it a broader social and moral responsibility. I show how Cullen and his peers sought to develop a programme of improvement which included how to live ‘a good life’.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: old age, retirement, Scottish Enlightenment, http://cullenproject.ac.uk/, letters, materia medica, improved farm, designed landscape, eighteenth-century, moral responsibility, good life.
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PR English literature
Q Science > QK Botany
R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine
R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine > RA0421 Public health. Hygiene. Preventive Medicine
Colleges/Schools: College of Arts > School of Critical Studies > English Literature
Funder's Name: Arts & Humanities Research Council (AHRC)
Supervisor's Name: Shuttleton, Dr. David and Leask, Prof. Nigel and Gilmour, Dr. Stuart
Date of Award: 2017
Depositing User: Ms Jane Corrie
Unique ID: glathesis:2017-30883
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 12 Nov 2018 11:42
Last Modified: 12 Nov 2018 11:43
URI: http://theses.gla.ac.uk/id/eprint/30883
Related URLs:

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item


Downloads per month over past year