‘The Foreigner at Home’: Stevenson and Scotland

  • Julia Reid
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Nineteenth-Century Writing and Culture book series (PNWC)


Stevenson engaged eagerly with the new anthropological discourse. As a young man coming to maturity among the 1870s Edinburgh intellectual élite, he enjoyed a ringside seat as mental and spiritual evolution was debated. Indeed, despite the conventional impression that after the 1830s Scotland was unable to sustain a distinctive literary culture, Edinburgh remained a vibrant intellectual capital.1 The new science of anthropology sprang largely from Scottish soil: J. F. McLennan, Andrew Lang, William Robertson Smith, and J. G. Frazer were all Scots. Robert Crawford describes the interweaving of ‘literary and anthropological enterprises’ in Scottish culture, and cites the friendship between Stevenson and Lang as exemplary.2 In the early 1870s, though, Stevenson was yet to meet Lang, and his access to anthropological ideas would have been secured rather through attendance at the Edinburgh Evening Club (as well as through his reading).


Divided Nation Alien Culture Historical Fiction Clan System Notebook Entry 
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© Julia Reid 2006

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  • Julia Reid

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