This article argues that Richard Hurd was more directly engaged than previously appreciated with the Anglo-Scottish cultural wars of the early 1760s over the nature of and center of gravity of an emergent British literary tradition. It establishes the ways Hurd’s Moral and Political Dialogues were revised last minute to include a response to David Hume’s History of England under the House of Tudor (1759) and explores how Hurd’s Letters on Chivalry and romance engages with the James Macpherson Ossian controversy of the 1760s. It examines the challenge that the recovery of a supposedly “ancient” Scottish tradition posed to the standard English literary history, with its canon based on Chaucer, Spenser, Milton, etc.

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