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Noble Society in Scotland

Keith M Brown


Even in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries it was conventional for humanist writers and their Enlightenment successors to regard the nobility which dominated early modern Scottish society and politics as violent, unlearned, and backward - at best conservatively bound to feudal codes of behaviour; at worst, brutal, corrupt and anarchic. It is a view that prevails still. Keith Brown takes issue with this.

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About the Author

Keith Brown is Professor of History at the University of Manchester. He specializes in early modern Scottish History, particularly the history of parliament and of the nobility.


'Brown's lavishly illustrated (both anecdotally and pictorially) study of the Scottish nobility in the early modern period does far more than redress the balance a little: it achieves its aims very convincingly indeed and is a significant contribution to Scottish history ... the overriding impression left by Noble Society in Scotland is eager anticipation for the second volume.'
- Diana Newton, University of Teeside, English Historical Review
'Keith M. Brown's thoughtful, impressively researched study adds significance to our understanding of European noble society … an admirable book. It rests on solid and wide-ranging research, and it displays a remarkable understanding of the mechanics of noble life; and Brown's attentiveness to the European context of his study means that it will be of considerable use to those outside the field of British History, as well as to specialists.'
- Journal of Early Modern History
'Noble Society in Scotland should be consulted frequently ... for the wealth of varied detail on aristocratic life that it presents ... Each chapter ends with a handy summary, headed 'Conclusion’ ... There are many valuable illustrations.'
- Scottish Historical Review
'This is a well-written and well-researched book … the product of many years' research. This book has given us a greater 'all-round' awareness of the social, cultural and economic forces that influenced the early modern Scottish nobility. For this contribution, Professor Brown's book is to be welcomed.'
- Scottish Economic and Social History
'This is a remarkable and thoroughly enjoyable foray into an area of study which so often produces the most boring of sludge... I concur entirely with a blurb which says that this book is 'elegantly written and illustrated with a wealth of contemporary incident and anecdote'. The result is both intimate and vivid... The 50 illustrations (not to mention both the front and back covers) are, frankly, delicious and well chosen; clearly a labour of love. To conclude, I would simply say that this book is such good fun; buy it and enjoy.'
- Social History Society Bulletin