Literary and Philosophical Societies (3922 words)

Literary/ Cultural Context Essay

Edward Hardiman (University of Keele)
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Literary and Philosophical societies were a collection of voluntary associations founded largely between the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, some of which still exist as of the publication of this article (note 1). These societies were focused on the acquisition of useful knowledge, principally through the collision of minds in conversation and debate, a concept that had been advocated by a number of thinkers from Isaac Watts (1674-1784) to Joseph Priestley (1733-1804). In addition to conversation between members, these societies hosted public lectures, created vast libraries, conducted scientific experiments, and ran small museums. The first two societies were confined to the north of England, with the Manchester …

Citation: Hardiman, Edward. "Literary and Philosophical Societies". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 12 June 2020 [, accessed 21 September 2020.]

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