Facing the Other, Reflecting on Ourselves: Michel Faber’s ‘The Book of Strange New Things’

‘I have been a stranger in a strange land’ (Exodus 2:22). These famous words are spoken by Moses, as rendered in the King James Bible, when explaining his choice of name, Gershom, for his son with Rebekah. Gershom means, roughly, ‘sojourner’, and is thus an apt commemoration of Moses’ famously ambiguous status in Egypt, a place […]

‘The Scottish Enlightenment and Literary Culture’ edited by Ralph McLean, Ronnie Young, and Kenneth Simpson

The accomplishments and achievements of the Scottish Enlightenment never fail to impress. Even when considered only in its most narrow, academic sense, the influence of this relatively small group of writers and thinkers is incredible; quite literally, the disciplines we now call anthropology, chemistry, economics, geology, history, linguistics, philosophy, mathematics, and sociology would not be […]

Introduction to ‘The Scottish Fetish: Beyond the Kilt’

The papers gathered here are versions of those delivered at the Modern Language Association’s conference in Austin, Texas in January 2016. As Chair of the MLA’s Scottish Literature Forum for the 2015-16 cycle, it was my responsibility — and pleasure — to moderate the Forum’s annual guaranteed session. When my fellow Forum executives and I […]

(Invisible) Hand Over Fist: On the Development and Legacy of Adam Smith’s Famous Phrase

‘The invisible hand’ is probably the most recognizable catchphrase of economic talk today. Invoked by supporters of capitalism, it insists upon the essential wisdom and naturalness of allowing financial decisions to be made by unfettered market forces rather than by individual or institutional actors; as U.S. presidential hopeful Mitt Romney liked to tell his supporters […]


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