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.
The close relation between concepts of nation and landscapes is well-established in cultural and literary studies. This book considers how the geological substance of national territory itself is used to support ideas of nationhood. The focus of much of the book is on Cornwall (the region located at the far south-west of Britain) and 'primitive' rocks found in this region as an in-depth case study in the context of 'Celtic' Britain. The book begins by focusing primarily on an emerging consciousness of Cornwall as a distinctively rocky territory as depicted in nineteenth-century geological journals, poetry, folklore, travel narratives, gothic and detective fiction. It then looks mainly at twentieth-century ghost stories, Cornish nationalist and New Age writing, and modernist and romance novels. The book reflects how the categories of science and literature were only beginning to take shape in the nineteenth century. It does so by building on well-established connections between these fields to show how geology and poetry together engage with rocks as a basis for perceiving Celtic nations and native races as distinct from England. Finally, the book takes on a more distinctly fictional engagement with the Cornish nationalist imagination and its ghosts.
The gothic novel in Ireland, 1760–1830 offers a compelling account of the development of gothic literature in late-eighteenth and early-nineteenth century Ireland. Against traditional scholarly understandings of Irish gothic fiction as a largely late-nineteenth century development, this study recovers to view a whole body of Irish literary production too often overlooked today. Its robust examination of primary texts, the contexts in which they were produced, and the critical perspectives from which they have been analysed yields a rigorous account of the largely retrospective formal and generic classifications that have worked to eliminate eighteenth-century and Romantic-era Irish fiction from the history of gothic literature. The works assessed here powerfully demonstrate that what we now understand as typical of ‘the gothic novel’– medieval, Catholic Continental settings; supernatural figures and events; an interest in the assertion of British modernity – is not necessarily what eighteenth- and nineteenth-century readers or writers would have identified as ‘gothic’. They moreover point to the manner in which scholarly focus on the national tale and allied genres has effected an erasure of the continued production and influence of gothic literature in Romantic Ireland. Combining quantitative analysis with meticulous qualitative readings of a selection of representative texts, this book sketches a new formal, generic, and ideological map of gothic literary production in this period. As it does so, it persuasively positions Irish works and authors at the centre of a newly understood paradigm of the development of the literary gothic across Ireland, Britain, and Europe between 1760 and 1830.
This book explores the history of postwar England during the end of empire through a reading of novels which appeared at the time. Several genres are discussed, including the family saga, travel writing, detective fiction and popular romances. In the mid 1950s, Montagu Slater's brief essay in Arena is the first of a group of contributions, with the authors' warning of a growing American monopoly in cultural expression. Agatha Christie, Dorothy L. Sayers and Josephine Tey are now the best remembered representatives of the distaff side of Britain's Golden Age of crime fiction which extended well into the early postwar period. The book focuses on the reception of John Masters' novels, the sequence of novels known as the 'Savage family saga'. William Golding's 'human condition' is very much an English condition, diagnosed amid the historical upheavals of the mid-twentieth century. Popular romance novels were read by thousands throughout Britain and across the world, and can be understood as a constituent element in a postwar colonial discourse. William Boyd's fiction displays a marked alertness to the repercussions of fading imperial grandeur; his A Good Man in Africa, explores the comic possibilities of Kinjanja, a fictional country based on Nigeria. Penelope Lively's tangential approach to writing about empire in Moon Tiger suggests ambivalence and uncertainty about how to represent a colonial past which is both recent and firmly entrenched in ideas of national identity.
This introduction argues that Hong Kong has rarely been considered as a site for Britain’s cultural engagement with its empire. For the period since World War II, the predominant narrative has been decolonization, and yet in the case of Hong Kong, the first three post-war decades were a crucial period of colonial state-building, with the British departure becoming assured only after 1982. The British cultural engagement with Hong Kong was most salient for those Britons who actually spent time there, whether as expatriates, short-term soldiers, or tourists. Hong Kong featured in metropolitan discourse most strikingly at particular moments of crisis, including the 1967-68 riots and the 1997 “handover”. At the same time, though, it featured in more sporadic and mundane ways, whether as the setting for a television series or romance novel, the source of children’s toys, or in reports from friends and family who lived and worked there. In these various contexts, Hong Kong constituted a site for the projection of a distinct Britishness.
Decomposed granite in Jack Clemo’s anti-nationalist writing
ideals of belonging, possession and inheritance. These ideals also tend
to dominate the numerous romancenovels set in ‘Celtic’
regions, typically in non-industrial locations such as moors, or in the
post-industrial, ‘heritagised’ landscapes of tin and
copper mines – all featuring granite. In the romancenovels, the
male heroes are usually wealthy property owners, whose land has belonged
to the family
began publishing, the ‘exotic’ romance had always been an
identifiable sub-genre of romance fiction, familiar to readers if not always
to publishers or to critics. The fantasy of true love has always involved a
measure of international travel, and Mills & Boon heroines have found their
heroes across the world. The current Mills & Boon list includes a subgenre of
the romancenovel; the ‘Modern’ romance (a generic label in the catalogue)
promises, according to their website: ‘Dramatic, contemporary, emotionally
intense love stories that take readers around the world
selfimage. Stevi Jackson asks us to consider that romances ‘derive
from a specifically Western cultural tradition – if they are being
consumed world-wide we need to know why they are being
read. It cannot simply be assumed that all women everywhere
make sense of them in exactly the same way’.4 Despite this, the
notion that ‘the romancenovel transcends cultures’ is still frequently expressed, for example by Pamela Regis in her book A
Natural History of the RomanceNovel (2003), whose reading of E.
M. Hull’s The
appreciation of the Travers’ farces and films that played with the constructed nature
of identity. The unstable nature of the employment market in Portsmouth
likewise played a role in the town’s working-class consumers’ preference for
historical romancenovels which offered to imaginatively transport readers into
a more stable and secure past. Portsmouth’s working-class cinema-goers’ reluctance to watch comedy films that depicted society as chaotic and combative
was generated by the same concerns, for these types of film offered no resolution for them; they afforded no
of different labels – anecdote, satire, memoir, romance, novel
– to describe and define such works. 4 Delarivier Manley, for example, compared
her Secret Memoirs and Manners of Persons of Quality … from
the New Atalantis (1709) with Varronian satire, and Gilbert
Burnet referred to continental secret histories as ‘French
memoirs’. 5 Other
such texts, like the