Twenty-first-century Scottish play-acting draws depth and energy from a European and Western tradition of dreaming Scottish dreams, and this tradition dates back to at least the late eighteenth century, to the beginnings of European Romanticism. This book explores how contemporary celebrations of Scotland build upon earlier Scottish fantasies. The Scottish dreamscape is one of several pre-modern counter-worlds which have been approached through imitation in the past. The book examines the 'Scotland' that is on the play-actors' minds. The Scottish dreamscape was formed in an eighteenth- and nineteenth-century process now best known as Highlandism. It was then that Scotland became associated with the aesthetics and supposed characteristics of its Highland periphery. The book also explores the Scottish dreamscape's spread via the channels of the British Empire and American popular culture. It identifies five key carriers which helped to disseminate the Scottish aesthetic across the world, namely epic poetry, the Highland regiments, music hall entertainment, Hollywood films, and romance novels. The book further focuses on fieldwork conducted in 2009 and 2010. It sheds some light on the different forms of Scottish play-acting, on musicians, athletes, commemorators, and historical re-enactors. The pipers and athletes do not imitate the past; they perform in what they hope are old but living Scottish traditions. Commemorators and historical re-enactors have a different aim. They seek to recreate the past in the present. Finally, the book identifies some of the main reasons for the Scottish dreamscape's special resonance in northern and western Europe.
helped immensely to carry the image of the kilted Highlander into
the far corners of the world. The dreamscape is older. It has been employed by
artists, politicians, military men, and tourism entrepreneurs for over 250 years.
Its origins lay in the second half of the eighteenth century, when Scottish thinkers and writers re-imagined Scottish national identity at a time of drastic social
and economic change. The image was perfected in Victorian Britain, during the
high time of EuropeanRomanticism, and spread via the worldwide channels
of the British Empire and its
three hypotheses for Scotland’s
remarkable success in what may be called the international market of historical
counter-worlds. First, the Scottish dreamscape is familiar. European thinkers
have imagined Scotland as a land of living history from the very beginnings of
EuropeanRomanticism. The notion of Scotland as Europe’s last wilderness was
spread via the channels of the British Empire and American popular culture and
established internationally. Secondly, the dreamscape promises pleasure. Its sartorial, musical, and athletic assets allow for satisfying
India. They are based on the numerous records, inscriptions, coins and
translated local chronicles he had collected in Rajasthan. In his text
he gives several quotations from British poets, among whom feature
contemporary Romantic poets. More than his textual allusions to Romantic
poetry, Tod’s work on the Rajputs contains several qualities that
are associated with EuropeanRomanticism, for
, even when
it spills into violence. This critique has historical affinities
further back than Gandhi: with EuropeanRomanticism and even with
the radical dissenting sects of the seventeenth century. (Charles
Tripp has gone further to argue that much of the Islamist critique
is a rebranding of Western sources.) For Bilgrami, academics writing
on political issues for a public
out that this should be a reference to Oscar, the son of Ossian, the legendary warrior poet who narrates the
cycle of epic poems based on Gaelic mythology published by James MacPherson from 1760 on. The poems were very popular internationally as well as
being central to the development of EuropeanRomanticism.
Algún ciego91 alquilado para toda la noche, como la araña y la
alfombra, y para descansarle un piano, tan piano92 que nadie lo
consiguió oír jamás, eran la música del baile, donde nadie bailó.
Poníanse, sí, de vez en cuando a modo de parejas la mitad de
Suvorov set out to meet each other with Ossian
on their minds.
And they were not alone. In the period from c.1774 to 1830, the poems of
Ossian captured the imagination of a great number of European readers, poets,
and politicians. The mythical Scottish bard became one of the most celebrated
figures of EuropeanRomanticism. Long before twenty-
actors would direct their yearning for roots towards Scotland, Ossian inspired
European intellectuals to imagine their past in a Scottish manner. As Kidd and
Coleman note: ‘Every nation, or aspirant nation
’s – abilities, p. 16.
15 John Tagg, ‘Melancholy Realism: Walker Evans’s Resistance to Meaning’, in Tagg, The
Disciplinary Frame: Photographic Truths and the Capture of Meaning (Minneapolis,
MN: University of Minnesota Press, 2009), p. 155.
17 Ibid., p. 171.
18 Ralph Waldo Emerson, ‘The American Scholar’ (1837), in The Portable Emerson, ed.
Carl Bode (London: Penguin, 1946), p. 65.
19 Paul Hamilton, ‘Leopardi and the Logic of the Romantic Fragment’, in Hamilton,
Realpolitik: EuropeanRomanticism and Politics (Oxford: Oxford University Press,
2013), p. 206.
themes, principally de
Moraes’s status as a ‘true’ Brazilian and his tumultuous
The film advances the claim that de Moraes was not
‘really’ himself, or indeed Brazilian, until he embraced
Brazilian popular music and its associated bohemian lifestyle. His initial
formation as an erudite poet, heavily influenced by EuropeanRomanticism, is
represented as a phase in which he proved his
The garden of the world: Byron
and the geography of Italy
Geography as mindscape
In La Nouvelle Héloïse, the protagonist Saint-Preux contemplates the
Swiss landscape to the point of identifying himself with it, inaugurating a characteristic tendency that runs throughout EuropeanRomanticism: the seeking out of correspondences, partial or absolute, temporary or eternal, between observer and place. Earlier commentators on travel, of course, laid the ground for Rousseau. In his
reading of the Grand Tour, for example, Addison maintains that the