This chapter talks about John Stuart Blackie, one of the most prominent figures on the Scottish intellectual scene during the second half of the nineteenth century. Blackie was a mixture of eccentricity, self-caricature, attention-seeking, and deep seriousness. He was not a typical Lowland Scot, he was intuitive rather than logical, excitable rather than calm, and had a flibbertigibbet side. The young Blackie was more troubled, and more open to the ideas of some of the leading figures in the intellectual life of early nineteenth century Europe. The older Blackie was flamboyant, but also dogmatic, repetitious and complacent, a colourful fish in a small Scottish pond. After his death he was called the last great Scotsman, a tribute which was paid to Sir Walter Scott that seemed excessive and a little odd in implicit comparison, though at the time it signaled a degree of cultural anxiety.
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