A Man of Many Depths: Hugh Miller and the Cruise of the Betsey

Alexander Hay

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Hugh Miller was many things in his life: a geologist, a journalist, a historian and a leading figure in the establishment of the Free Church in 1843. However his work also involved the sea and maritime issues to a considerable degree; in particular, his two companion narratives, The Cruise of the Betsey and Rambles of a Geologist. These addressed the experiences of coastal and island communities, and the social and religious issues they faced, but also allowed for an exploration of Scotland's fossilised deposits and its prehistoric marine wildlife. Yet the sea also allowed Miller to explore deeper issues in regards to his background, his faith and his worldview. The oceans proved a fitting canvas for Miller's childhood traumas, in the form of his father's death at sea, in addition to his own approach to romanticism and spirituality. This paper therefore explores an often nuanced and complicated, yet vivid and inspired relationship between Miller and the seas that fascinated him.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalScottish Studies Review
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 2016


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