Writing in the late 18th and early 19th century, Elizabeth Hamilton produced fiction, satire, comical sketches, philosophical essays, historical biography, theological treatises, and essays on educational theory. She is best known for her novel The Cottagers of Glenburnie (1808) with its vivid depictions – and biting satires – of Scottish peasant life. A lively and entertaining tale, The Cottagers of Glenburnie also skilfully discusses and dissects class issues, British imperialism, and war.
Also included here are three examples of Hamilton’s non-fiction: Letters on the Elementary Principles of Education (1801); Memoirs of the Life of Agrippina, Wife of Germanicus (1804); and Letters Addressed to the Daughter of a Nobleman (1806). All three present different aspects of Hamilton’s educational theories. Taken together, these works show how, despite its ostensibly simple plot and style, Glenburnie brings together the political and social concerns of the day with the Scottish Enlightenment interest in theories of the mind and of moral education on which Hamilton drew throughout her career.
The Cottagers of Glenburnie is a fascinating example of early 19th-century women’s fiction. This volume is the only edition available in print, and it comes with a glossary and notes for scholars and students.
Note on the Text
The Cottagers of Glenburnie
From Letters on the Elementary Principles of Education
From Memoirs of the Life of Agrippina, Wife of Germanicus
From Letters Addressed to the Daughter of a Nobleman
Francis Jeffrey, Review of Cottagers of Glenburnie
Gloss of Hamilton’s Scots Terms
Dr Pam Perkins is Associate Head of the Department of English, Film and Theatre at the University of Manitoba, Canada.
Cover illustration: detail from ‘Elizabeth Hamilton’. Sir Henry Raeburn (1756–1823).
Illustration courtesy of the Scottish National Portrait Gallery, Edinburgh.
Cover design: Mark Blackadder.
Last updated 9 August 2010.