Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home
Hostname: page-component-99c86f546-pkshj Total loading time: 0.299 Render date: 2021-11-28T22:04:29.630Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "shouldUseShareProductTool": true, "shouldUseHypothesis": true, "isUnsiloEnabled": true, "metricsAbstractViews": false, "figures": true, "newCiteModal": false, "newCitedByModal": true, "newEcommerce": true, "newUsageEvents": true }

2 - Burns, place and language

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  05 May 2010

Penny Fielding
Affiliation:
University of Edinburgh
Get access

Summary

James Currie, the biographer and first editor of Robert Burns, associates the distinctive character of Scottish song with a sense of place:

Many of the love-songs of Scotland describe scenes of rural courtship; many may be considered as invocations from lovers to their mistresses. On such occasions a degree of interest and reality is given to the sentiments, by the spot destined to these happy interviews being particularized. The lovers perhaps meet at the Bush aboon Traquair, or on the Banks of Etrick; the nymphs are invoked to wander among the wilds of Roslin, or the woods of Invermay.

Currie's juxtaposition of ‘interest’ (the application of a personal feeling) and ‘reality’ (the recognition of an external condition) introduces an idea that highlights the unstable nature of Romantic place as he suggests that the local may not just be familiar and thus specific to those who live there, but may also exemplify familiarity itself as a general principle. Although it was unlikely that most British readers in 1800 had much empirical acquaintance with the banks of Ettrick, the fact that songs may be set there confers on them, according to Currie, a sense of ‘reality’. This in turn calls up the position of North Britain within Great Britain: on the one hand, Scotland is geographically other, a place of curiosity to inspire the external reader's ‘interest’, while, on the other, Scottish places are imbued with the universal inner ‘reality’ of nature that underpins the social organisation of modern Britain through sensibility and neoclassicism: ‘these rustic bards […] are guided by the same impulse of nature and sensibility which influenced the father of epic poetry.’

Type
Chapter
Information
Scotland and the Fictions of Geography
North Britain 1760–1830
, pp. 40 - 70
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2008

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)
1
Cited by

Send book to Kindle

To send this book to your Kindle, first ensure no-reply@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

Note you can select to send to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

  • Burns, place and language
  • Penny Fielding, University of Edinburgh
  • Book: Scotland and the Fictions of Geography
  • Online publication: 05 May 2010
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511720048.003
Available formats
×

Send book to Dropbox

To send content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

  • Burns, place and language
  • Penny Fielding, University of Edinburgh
  • Book: Scotland and the Fictions of Geography
  • Online publication: 05 May 2010
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511720048.003
Available formats
×

Send book to Google Drive

To send content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

  • Burns, place and language
  • Penny Fielding, University of Edinburgh
  • Book: Scotland and the Fictions of Geography
  • Online publication: 05 May 2010
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511720048.003
Available formats
×