Edinburgh Research Explorer

"Earth and Stone": Improvement, entailment, and geographical futures in the novel of the 1820s

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCultures of Improvement in Scottish Romanticism, 1707-1840
EditorsAlex Benchimol, Gerard McKeever
ISBN (Electronic)9781351056427
ISBN (Print)9781138482937
Publication statusPublished - 11 Apr 2018

Publication series

NameThe Enlightenment World: Political and Intellectual History of the Long Eighteenth Century


In Susan Ferrier’s 1824 novel The Inheritance, the authoritarian Lord Rossville is invited to view the landscape of his estate in all its natural beauty. Yet what should be a routine act in an early nineteenth-century novel proves impossible for him: In vain were creation’s charms spread before his eyes.—There is a mental blindness, darker than that which shrouds the visual orb, and Nature’s works were to Lord Rossville an universal blank, or rather they were a sort of account-book, in which were registered all his own petty doings. It was here he had drained-there he had embankedhere he had planted-there he had cut down-here he had built a bridge-there he had made a road-here he had levelled-there he had raised, &c. &c. &c. To all that his own head had planned he was feelingly alive; but, for the ‘dread magnificence of Heaven,’ he had neither eye, ear, nor soul, and must, therefore, be forgiven, if insensible to its influence.1

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