Document Type


Subject Area(s)

Scottish Literature


This paper contrasts two kinds of literary society, based on examples from eighteenth-century Edinburgh: the "ludic" or playful use of rhetoric in the early 18th century Easy Club, centred on the Scottish poet Allan Ramsay (1686-1758), and the "agonistic" or forensic rhetoric of the later 18th century Speculative Society, especially as seen in the Scottish lawyer and reviewer Francis Jeffrey (1773-1850) and in the influential Edinburgh Review for which he wrote. The paper originated as the keynote address to Rhetor '86: the Convention of the National Association of Collegiate Literary Societies, held in Columbia, SC, October 10, 1986.