Georgian Glasgow: the city remembered through literature, objects, and cultural memory theory

Lamont, Craig Ronald (2015) Georgian Glasgow: the city remembered through literature, objects, and cultural memory theory. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

Full text available as:
[thumbnail of 2015lamontphd.pdf] PDF
Download (6MB)
Printed Thesis Information:


The core argument under discussion in this thesis is that Georgian Glasgow (1714-1837) has been largely overshadowed by the city’s unprecedented growth in the following centuries when it became a symbol of the industrial age. In this sense much of the work being done here is a form of cultural excavation: unearthing neglected histories from the past that tell us more than is presently known about the development of Glasgow. The thesis will engage with literature, history, and memory studies: a collective approach that allows for both general discussion of ideas as well as specific engagement with literature and objects. The larger issues to which these converging disciplines will be applied include the Scottish Enlightenment, religion, cultural identity, slavery, and diaspora.

The thesis is developed chronologically through the Georgian period with contextual discussions of the seventeenth and nineteenth centuries at each stage. This results in a more rounded analysis of each theme while making the argument that Georgian Glasgow remains underrepresented in the public realm. The main historical figures that help this argument are: Robert and Andrew Foulis; Tobias Smollett; Adam Smith and James Boswell; and John Galt. Each of these main figures represent distinct themes that define the case studies of the argument. They are: print culture and religion; science and medicine; slavery; and transatlantic migration and colonisation. There are crossovers, for instance the points made about religion in chapter one may be utilised again in chapters two and four; while the very broad theme of the Scottish Enlightenment is discussed to varying degrees in every chapter.

The methodology strives to discuss literary, historical, and theoretical memory studies together. In the latter field, the theories of the pre-eminent scholars underpin the case studies of people, places, and objects. Given the connection of this thesis to the major Glasgow Life exhibition, How Glasgow Flourished: 1714-1837 (2014), this interdisciplinary approach is able to reflect the public response to ‘Georgian Glasgow.’ The majority of these findings are revealed in the conclusion chapter, although the experience of working collaboratively with Glasgow Museums informed the thesis as a whole.

While this thesis primarily aims to recover and engage with the forgotten aspects of Glasgow’s past, it is also shaped as a methodological template transferrable to other places and time periods. By engaging with the specialisms of academia and taking them into the public realm via other institutions, this thesis strives to remember Georgian Glasgow while outlining a practical process for cultural engagement elsewhere.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Additional Information: Supported by funding from AHRC.
Keywords: Glasgow, Scottish Enlightenment, literature, memory, history, empire, slavery, print culture
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PR English literature
Colleges/Schools: College of Arts & Humanities > School of Critical Studies > English Literature
Supervisor's Name: Pittock, Prof. Murray and Carruthers, Prof. Gerard
Date of Award: 2015
Depositing User: Mr Craig Lamont
Unique ID: glathesis:2015-7041
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 01 Mar 2016 11:13
Last Modified: 06 Sep 2018 14:55

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item


Downloads per month over past year