Hugh Miller : Stonemason, Geologist, Writer-9781910682357

Hugh Miller : Stonemason, Geologist, Writer

Taylor, Doctor Dr Michael A.

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Hugh Miller was born in 1802 in Cromarty, North East Scotland. He started his working life as a stonemason's apprentice. A keen interest in fossil collecting followed and he was successful in arousing public interest in geological history. He later became a social commentator and crusader (he was one of the first writers to condemn the Highland Clearances) while his role as a serious religious journalist is highlighted in his discussions on the Disruption of the Church of Scotland and its consequences. As Hugh Miller, a tall man with a shepherd's plaid over his rough tweed suit, walked about Edinburgh he was pointed out with pride. His was a household name in his lifetime, not only in Scotland but also across the English-speaking world. After his death, by his own hand in 1856, his work was mined by historians and anthologists for its acute observations, and geologists continued to love the spirit which imbued his writings, as did the Free Church - but in the 20th century his thoughts on evolutionary biology were sorely obsolete. However, a recent revival in Scots history and culture, and a reassessment of the 19th century debates in science, geology and religion, have all led to a fuller appreciation of the rich and complex stories in which Hugh Miller played a part, and of the man himself. This biography follows the 2003 facsimile edition of Hugh Miller's "The Cruise of the Betsey and Rambles of a Geologist", which Michael Taylor edited. With the benefit of recent research for the 2002 centenary conferences, the book does full justice to a neglected figure whose work and writings continue to give enjoyment and inspiration.