Retired Shopkeeper Makes Enlightenment

A Retired Shopkeeper Makes Enlightenment: Edmund Rack in Bath, 1775-1787

Dr Lawrence Klein of Emmanuel College, Cambridge

The Enlightenment had a large cast of characters, many of whom were humble in origin. This talk will explore the nature of Enlightenment inclusiveness through the experiences of a particular individual.  Edmund Rack was a shopkeeper in East Anglia who turned himself into a man of letters and, moving to Bath in 1775, put himself at the center of the local Bath enlightenment. He published essays, attended literary salons and helped found two philosophical societies. His career shows both the pleasures and worries that attached to eighteenth-century upward mobility.

This lecture was recorded on 18 October 2006 at St Cecilia's Hall, Edinburgh.

Click here to download or listen to the audio lecture.


Further Reading