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Religious Dissent and the Aikin-Barbauld Circle, 1740–1860

by Ian Inkster Felicity James

Recent criticism is now fully appreciating the nuanced and complex contribution made by Dissenters to the culture and ideas of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries in Britain. This is the first sustained study of a Dissenting family - the Aikins - from the 1740s to the 1860s. Essays by literary critics, historians of religion and science, and geographers explore and contextualise the achievements of this remarkable family, including John Aikin senior, tutor at the celebrated Warrington Academy, and his children, poet Anna Letitia Barbauld, and John Aikin junior, literary physician and editor. The latter's children in turn were leading professionals and writers in the early Victorian era. This study provides new perspectives on the social and cultural importance of the family and their circle - an untold story of collaboration and exchange, and a narrative which breaks down period boundaries to set Enlightenment and Victorian culture in dialogue.

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