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Cockburn Bicentenary Studies is published to commemorate the bicentenary of Henry Cockburn (1779-1845), the prominent Scottish judge and autobiographer whose Memorials and other writings give a uniquely vivid picture of the social, legal and literary world of the Scotland of his day.
Drawn from a wide range of documentary material in the National Library of Scotland and elsewhere, much of which shows Lord Cockburn to be a letter writer of rare quality, the essays cover many aspects of his life and work. Alan Bell, the editor, writes about Cockburn's concern for the civic well-being of Edinburgh and of Scotland as a whole, showing how many of his views on amenity and conservation anticipated modern ideas, and how appropriately the Edinburgh Civic Trust was founded as The Cockburn Association in his memory.
John Pinkerton writes of Cockburn's career as advocate and judge, taking a practitioner's view of a busy and celebrated predecessor. Iain Maciver, an authority on nineteenth¬century Scottish church history, writes on Cockburn's distinctive views of the Disruption question. Karl Miller, author of the prize-winning study Cockburn's Millennium, contributes an essay expanding his account of Cockburn's verse and critical view of contemporary poetry.
The essays, drawing wherever possible on previously unknown sources, also include an account of the origin of Cockburn's Memorials ef His Time and a re-edited text of Cockburn's own history of his Edinburgh dining club which is as genial and acute as anything he ever wrote.