the rough draft of a book on the life and times of Robert Chambers,
the founder of W & R Chambers and one of the most interesting intellectual
figures of nineteenth century Britain. Although there are now books
on his letters, on the impact of one of his books (The Vestiges of
Natural Creation), there are no books on the man and his life.
weaves together three strands, each necessary to understand the others.
At one level it is a biography of Chambers and his family; the portrait
of a 'Robinson Crusoe' like career from absolute poverty to great wealth
and influence. At the second it provides the context of his life by
way of a portrait of nineteenth century Edinburgh as seen through his
eyes. At the third it explores the intellectual and organizational revolutions
embodied in his life, the explorations in history, folklore, geology,
publishing, education and many other fields which made him one of the
most exciting thinkers of his age.
It is based
on extensive archival research among the Chambers' archives in Edinburgh
and conversations with his descendants. It is written by Iris Macfarlane.
It is a rough and preliminary draft, so please do not quote extensively
without citation. It is hoped to publish the work in hard copy at some
stage. If you are interested in helping with this, please contact Alan
Biographer and Historian
Whole Man and His Time