James Beattie (poet)
25 October 1735|
|Died||18 August 1803
|Notable work(s)||Essay on the Nature and Immutability of Truth (1770); The Minstrel (1771–74)|
He was born the son of a shopkeeper and small farmer at Laurencekirk in the Mearns, and educated at Aberdeen University. In 1760, he was appointed Professor of moral philosophy there as a result of the interest of his intimate friend, Robert Arbuthnot of Haddo. In the following year he published a volume of poems, The Judgment of Paris (1765), which attracted attention. The two works, however, which brought him most fame were:
- His Essay on the Nature and Immutability of Truth, intended as an answer to David Hume, which had great immediate success, and led to an introduction to the King, a pension of £200, and the degree of LL.D. from Oxford; and
- his poem of The Minstrel, of which the first book was published in 1771 and the second in 1774, and which constitutes his true title to remembrance, winning him the praise of Samuel Johnson. It contains much beautiful descriptive writing.
Beattie underwent much domestic sorrow in the death of his wife and two promising sons, which broke down his own health and spirits.
The poet Robert Burns informed Mrs Frances Dunlop in a letter that the idea of using Coila as the name of his poetic muse first came to him from Dr Beattie's use of a muse named 'Scota' in his Scots language poem of 1768 titled To Mr Alexander at Lochlee.
- Original Poems and Translations (1760)
- The Judgement of Paris (1765)
- Poems on Several Subjects (1766)
- An Essay on the Nature and Immutability of Truth (1770)
- The Minstrel; or, The Progress of Genius (1771/2) two volumes
- Essays, on the nature and immutability of truth in opposition to sophistry and scepticism. On poetry and music as they affect the mind. On laughter and ludicrous composition. On the utility of classical learning (1776)
- Essays on Poetry (1778)
- Scoticisms, Arranged in Alphabetical Order, Designed to Correct Improprieties of Speech and Writing (1779)
- Poems on several occasions (1780)
- Dissertations Moral and Critical (1783)
- The Evidence of the Christian Religion Briefly and Plainly Stated (1786) 2 vols.
- The theory of language. Part I. Of the origin and general nature of speech. Part II. Of universal grammar (1788)
- Elements of Moral Science (1790–1793) two volumes
- The Poetical Works of James Beattie (1831) edited by A. Dyce
- The poetical works of Beattie, Blair, and Falconer (1868) edited by Charles Cowden Clarke
- James Beattie's Day-Book, 1773-1778 (1948) edited by R. S. Walker
- James Beattie's Diary (1948) edited by R. S. Walker
- This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Cousin, John William (1910). A Short Biographical Dictionary of English Literature. London: J. M. Dent & Sons. Wikisource
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- Beattie, James, Elements of Moral Science, 1790. Facsimile ed., 1975, Scholars' Facsimiles & Reprints, ISBN 978-0-8201-1167-4.
- James Beattie. "An Essay on the Nature and Immutability of Truth, in Opposition to Sophistry and Scepticism (sixth edition; London: Printed for Edward and Charles Dilly, 1778)". Page Images at Google.
- Works by James Beattie at Project Gutenberg
- James Beattie entry in the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy