Literary and Philosophical Societies

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 society founded in 1781 and the second in Newcastle in…

3922 words

Citation: Hardiman, Edward. "Literary and Philosophical Societies". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 12 June 2020 [, accessed 09 December 2023.]

19580 Literary and Philosophical Societies 2 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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