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These islands

Edinburgh has reinvented itself many times, all the while remaining a stolid, bourgeois place. As Scotland goes to the polls, could another renewal be around the corner?

By Michael Fry   May 2007

Urban history has become fashionable, flourishing in the hands of Jan Morris and Alistair Horne, of Peter Ackroyd and AN Wilson. And readers buy the results. Yet the story of Edinburgh remains oddly neglected.

Edinburgh is worth a book (indeed, I am in the early stages of writing one) for being among the first of modern cities. It was rebuilt in the 18th century as a machine for rational living, like, more recently, Brasilia and Chandigarh. But it did better than these imitations by then becoming the setting for something of global significance: the Scottish Enlightenment of David Hume and…

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