World Literature

Exploring Environmental History: Selected Essays by T. C. Smout

By T. C. Smout

This quantity brings jointly the simplest of T. C. Smout's fresh articles and contributions to books and journals related to environmental heritage and provides them as a set of 'explorations'. The author's pursuits are multi-faceted and, although frequently focussed on post-1600 Scotland, on no account limited to that sector.

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C. Smout, Nature Contested: Environmental History in Scotland and Northern England since 1600 (Edinburgh, 2000), ch. 5. 26 With the collapse of mutton and wool prices in the years after 1870, the deer forest and the grouse moor became the prime use of much Highland land and, by the early decades of the twentieth century, it was a matter of hot political contention as to whether deer forests represented the sterilisation of a valuable resource for the amusement of the idle and alien rich or the only practicable use for otherwise almost valueless land.

J. A. Harvie-Brown, The Capercaillie in Scotland (Edinburgh, 1879); Ritchie, Animal Life, pp. 269–70. A recent thesis argues that capercaillie extinction was exacerbated by climate change, as well as by human persecution and problems with the habitat in the 1780s: G. B. D. thesis, 2007. J. A. Harvie-Brown, The History of the Squirrel in Great Britain (Edinburgh, 1881); Ritchie, Animal Life, pp. 290–5. J. A. ) in Scotland’, Annals of Scottish Natural History, 1 (1892), pp. 4–17. Smout, MacDonald and Watson, Native Woodlands; David Nairne, ‘Notes on Highland woods, ancient and modern’, Transactions of the Gaelic Society of Inverness, 17 (1891); J.

1 J. ), The Correspondence of Thomas Gray and William Mason (London, 1853), p. 349. ’2 Another was Samuel Johnson, also observing the chaos of the hills with an eye of a man more comfortable in a London coffee house: ‘matter incapable of form or usefulness: dismissed by nature from her care . . 5 Nor would it be true to say that a delight in nature was necessarily unknown before this period, or imported by outsiders. The Scottish Renaissance poets had a sharp ear for birdsong, for example, and the Gaelic poet Duncan Ban MacIntyre, himself a gamekeeper, an exact contemporary of Gray, published in 1768 what some have considered the finest nature poem in any British language.

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