Brilliant Lives

The Clerk Maxwells and the Scottish Enlightenment

By John W. Arthur

Format: Paperback

Brilliant Lives: The Clerk Maxwells and the Scottish Enlightenment

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Birlinn Limited

Birlinn publishes mostly non-fiction books, ranging from biography to history, military history and Scottish interest. Their imprints, Polygon Books, Arena Sport Books and John Donald Books, publish a wide variety of genres including culture, literary fiction, poetry and sports.

Product Description


James Clerk Maxwell (1831-1879) was the greatest physicist of the nineteenth century, and although his scientific contribution is now acknowledged to be on a level with those of Newton and Einstein, he has generally not received the acclaim that he deserves. This book goes beyond the life of the man himself to explore five generations of his family and those with whom they were connected, predominantly middle ranking lowland Scots who were interlinked through marriage. At the centre are the Clerks of Penicuik and the Maxwells of Middlebie. These dynastic families and their connections produced several astonishing characters whose stories shed light on the development of Scotland from the political and religious aftermath of the Reformation, through the age of Enlightenment, and into the glory days of the nineteenth century. The Scottish Enlightenment was fuelled by the actions and ideas of several brilliant individuals, many of whom were either among James Clerk Maxwell's direct forebears or within their circle of connections. Their brightest scion was without doubt James himself, but many of the others also made their own distinct impression on Scotland and the wider world.

Additional Information

Additional Information

Format Paperback
Imprint Birlinn Limited
Publication Date 4 Apr 2016
ISBN 9781906566975
Number of Pages 320

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