Georgian Glasgow People

Glasgow’s literary landscape in the early eighteenth century was once described as being 'not in a very advanced state.' Compared to the vernacular revival that grew in Edinburgh it is easy to see why Glasgow – where religious tracts were printed more than anything else – has been overlooked in Scotland’s literary history.


However, before Robert Burns drew the attention of the nation to Ayrshire, Glasgow was becoming the central hub of classical printing in the west of Scotland thanks to the Foulis brothers, whose printing press in the University became famous for its Greek, Roman, and English reprints. Tobias Smollett, who studied at the University, went on to become one of foremost novelists of the eighteenth century, while John Galt, from Irvine, had over 40 books published during his life.

Poetry in Glasgow became more accomplished towards the end of the Georgian era, especially in the works of Thomas Campbell. While Campbell did not write a great deal about Glasgow, there were plenty of other, more obscure poets such as Dugald Moore who did. From the beginning of the eighteenth-century to the end of the Georgian era, in fact, Glasgow was described, praised and politicized in poetry.

The names on the right represent a starting point; a sample of those who are most crucial in understanding Glasgow’s literary and philosophical history.