The first book-length study of the Scottish Legendary (late 14th c.), the only extant collection of saints’ lives in the vernacular from medieval Scotland, scrutinises the dynamics of hagiographic narration, its implicit assumptions about literariness, and the functions of telling the lives of the saints. The fifty saints’ legends are remarkable for their narrative art: the enjoyment of reading the legends is heightened, while didactic and edifying content is toned down. Focusing on the role of the narrator, the depiction of the saintly characters, their interiority, as well as temporal and spatial parameters, it is demonstrated that the Scottish poet has adapted the traditional material to the needs of an audience versed in reading romance and other secular genres. The implications of the Scottish poet’s narrative strategies are analysed also with respect to the Scottishness of the legendary and its overall place in the hagiographic landscape of late medieval Britain.
This article proposes that the popularly held model of ‘Gothic’ writings emergence in the Eighteenth Century is too partial: it tends to privilege prose fiction written in England in the latter part of the century. As a corrective, the article looks at poetry written in Scotland across the century, seeking not origins for ‘the Gothic’ as a transhistorical literary mode of expression, but emergent treatments of the supernatural that fed back into the literature of the period. It argues that poetry in eighteenth-century Scotland develops well-established indigenous supernatural tropes, especially that of the ‘ghaist’ or ghost.
James Robertson‘s well-deserved reputation as a historical novelist has obscured the role that the Gothic plays in his work. Manifesting itself in distinctively Scottish fashion, Robertson‘s Gothicism is tied to the ‘broader national culture’ in general and to post-devolutionary Scotland in particular. Not only does his transformation of the Gothic into the historical novels uncanny other resist the modern novels tendency towards increasing privatisation. It also results in work that diverges from much post-devolutionary Scottish fiction in that his stories and novels are, by virtue of the density of their Scottishness, deeply connected to the local and to folk culture.
Thomas Percy’s The Reliques of Ancient English Poetry , first published in 1765, was a seminal text in English literature. 1
A comprehensive three-volume set of British ballads, it was one of the most significant collections of the century, and its influence was felt on British editors and writers for generations afterwards. The backdrop for this literary endeavour was a culture war in English and Scottish literature which was part of the long-standing antagonism between the two nations. This antipathy had
This chapter breaks new ground in John Derricke
scholarship by excavating the hitherto neglected Scottish context and afterlife of The
Image of Irelande through a series of encounters – historical, political, and
editorial – in order to suggest that Derricke’s text also offers, crucially,
an image of Scotland. The Scottish connection is especially significant because three
surviving copies have Scottish provenance, two nineteenth-century editions had Scottish
editors, and two copies remain in Edinburgh
This book explores, from a variety of critical perspectives, the playwright's place in Scotland and the place of Scotland in his work. The influence of Scotland on William Shakespeare's writing, and later on his reception, is set alongside the dramatic effects that Shakespeare's work had on the development of Scottish literature. The Shakespeare's work of Scottish literature stretches from the Globe to globalisation, and from Captain Jamy and King James to radical productions at the Citizens' Theatre in Glasgow. Shakespeare have strong Scottish connections by virtue of his theatre company's being brought under the sponsorship of the Scottish king James VI immediately after his accession to the English throne in 1603. Jonathan Goldberg and Alvin Kernan have traced the impact of royal patronage on Shakespeare's work after the Union, finding Scottish themes at play not just in Macbeth, but also in Cymbeline, King Lear, Hamlet, and in other plays. Then, the book outlines some of the issues and problems raised by Scotland and Scottish history for English readers in the last decade of Elizabeth's reign. Shakespeare wrote his English plays in Elizabeth's reign and his British plays after 1603, though Henry V, first performed in 1599, might be regarded as a proto-British play. Unlike Henry V, Shakespeare's most English play, where national identity is of the essence, in Macbeth, Scotland is a blot on the landscape. Shakespeare's political drama moves from a sense of England and Scotland as independent kingdoms into an alignment with the views of Unionist King James.
Macbeth’s national identity in the eighteenth century
One of the best-known features of
Macbeth is its alias. Such is the notoriety of the
misadventure apparently visited upon those foolhardy enough to utter
‘Macbeth’ within a theatre, that it is frequently referred
to as ‘the Scottish play’, even by those without a
superstitious bent. 1
The adoption of this moniker, like the avoidance of walking under
Finding Scottish art
Nationality and art
The relationship between nationality and art, or something like it, has
been central to the history of art – scholarly or popular – whether in the
minimal form of this national school or that national school, or in a more
focused way as in ‘the Italian Renaissance’ or ‘French Impressionism’.
The art in question is seen as directly related to a national or quasinational set of circumstances, and indeed the art is seen as having some
significant link to the nationality of those who carried it out.
‘Ireland, verses, Scotland: crossing
the (English) language barrier’
The very problem of the national and the individual in language is
basically the problem of the utterance (after all, only here, in the utterance, is the national language embodied in individual form). (Mikhail
Bakhtin, cited Wesling 1997: 81)
The Irish mix better with the English than the Scotch do because their
language is nearer. (Samuel Johnson, cited in Boswell 1906 : 473)
Why Scotland and Ireland? What is marginal, one might ask, about
cultures that have produced
Scotland was something of a
power-house of British publishing in the nineteenth century. In 1873,
Henry Curwen estimated that some 10,000 people were employed in the
printing trade north of the border. ‘The eight or nine leading
houses’, he observed, ‘with one exception, print themselves
the books they sell; a practice which is almost indigenous to Edinburgh,
or, at all