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The Conclusion traces the afterlife of the knots of memory examined in earlier chapters in two printed genres: the multi-volume histories of the nation that became popular in the late eighteenth century and the historical novel in the hands of Walter Scott. Works such as David Hume’s and Tobias Smollett’s histories replicate some of the counter-memories that were produced in the earlier printed discourse on the nation. Scott, however, transforms the complicated knots of memories and counter-memories by drawing attention to and framing them. Waverley, for example, both acknowledges the power of counter-memories and prevents their re-activation by including them within a narrative that connects a progressive sense of a consolidated British cultural memory with a model of media succession.
Judaism in Britain during the Romantic era shaped tradition to suit the requirements of modernity and the challenges of “Englishing” an ancient religion. Jewish novelists, poets, and theologians promoted emancipation and mutual understanding with a Christian-majority society. David Levi, Hyman Hurwitz, and Grace Aguilar made especially important contributions.
Introduction: Walter Scott’s tales of chivalry and adventure inaugurated a masculinized Scottish romance tradition that celebrated a sublime and heroic version of Scotland. Nineteenth-century Scotswomen responded to Scott’s influence by establishing a countertradition of unromantic or even antiromantic representations of Scotland. Their novels challenge the long-standing claim that Scotland lacked any equivalent to the English realist novel. In turning from the past to the present and from the sublimity of Scott’s Highland landscapes to farmhouses, factories, and suburban villas, Scottish women writers brought romance to everyday life, illuminating the magnificence of the mundane. Drawing on the evangelical discourses emerging from the splintering of the Presbyterian Church in 1843, they represented fiction as a form of spiritual comfort, an antidote to the dreary monotony and petty frustrations of daily existence.
CH 1: Margaret Oliphant, one of the first Scotswomen to make a living as a professional writer, looked to Walter Scott to legitimate her pragmatic understandings of authorship as a skilled trade and literature as a form of entertainment rather than a source of spiritual truths. In her autobiography and her novels, Oliphant drew on Scott’s example to explore the inverse relationship between literature’s aesthetic and economic value. Both her sentimental Scottish romances and her masterfully ironic Chronicles of Carlingford declare the superiority of skilled craftmanship to inspired genius as source of literary and artistic production. The Chronicles of Carlingford became a touchstone for later Scottish women writers by articulating an aesthetics of the ordinary and affirming the vast importance that seemingly mundane events occupy in the lives of most people. But it was in her romances that Oliphant defined her own relationship to Scottish literary tradition by feminizing the chivalric adventures of Walter Scott’s Waverley novels.
Walter Scott's tales of chivalry and adventure inaugurated a masculinized Scottish romance tradition that celebrated a sublime and heroic version of Scotland. Nineteenth-century Scotswomen responded to Scott's influence by establishing a counter-tradition of unromantic or even anti-romantic representations of Scotland. Their novels challenged the long-standing claim that Scotland lacked any equivalent to the English realist novel. In turning from the past to the present and from the sublimity of Scott's Highland landscapes to farmhouses, factories, and suburban villas, Scottish women writers brought romance to everyday life, illuminating the magnificence of the mundane. Drawing on the evangelical discourses emerging from the splintering of the Presbyterian Church in 1843, they represented fiction as a form of spiritual comfort, an antidote to the dreary monotony and petty frustrations of daily existence. This volume introduces the previously overlooked tradition of nineteenth-century Scottish women's writing, and corrects previously male-dominated histories of the Scottish novel.
The third chapter analyses Forster’s transformation of the opera-box literary trope of seduction into a riotous opera scene in his first novel, Where Angels Fear to Tread. Describing a performance of Donizetti's Lucia di Lammemoor, the scene is liberally scattered with allusions to nineteenth-century literary texts (such as Flaubert's Madame Bovary and Scott's Bride of Lammermoor) and to national stereotypes about musical idiosyncrasies (such as those described in Baedeker's guidebook and in Mark Twain's A Tramp Abroad). Arguing that Forster’s parodic use of these allusions reflects both his negotiation of the weightiness of literary heritage and his participation in topical debates about national character, the chapter considers his stylistic and ideological ambitions for his debut novel. The chapter brings together considerations of the novel’s literary history and its national politics. Unearthing what lies beneath the beguiling social comedy of the novel, the chapter puts its emphasis on the intertextual and contextual resonances of the opera scene, analysing them as evidence of Forster’s strategy of writing against existing material to distinguish his debut work from others.
Legends about the vampire and the development of Gothic fiction took separate tracks throughout the eighteenth century in England and the rest of Europe. But they united decisively in S. T. Coleridge’s ‘Christabel’ (composed 1799–1800; published 1816), which then inspired the more symbolic uses of the vampire-figure in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein (1818) and John Polidori’s The Vampyre (1819). These works showed that the vampire could be a symbolic site for ‘abjecting’ (in Julia Kristeva’s sense of ‘throwing-off’) the most feared inconsistencies and conflicts at the heart of individuals and their whole culture. From there, this mating of fictive schemes, empowered by the Janus-faced nature of Gothic symbol-making, proliferated across the nineteenth century in plays, penny dreadfuls and fully-fledged novels. As these versions of the Gothic vampire progressed, so the range of deep conflicts that this figure could abject, individual and social, grew exponentially, as we can still see in texts ranging from Sir Walter Scott’s novels and Charles Nodier’s French plays in the 1810s and 1820s to Bram Stoker’s Dracula and Florence Marryat’s The Blood of the Vampire in the 1890s.
This chapter discusses the use of Gothic convention in four nineteenth-century Scottish writers: Walter Scott, James Hogg, Margaret Oliphant and Robert Louis Stevenson. Proceeding by means of an account of Anna Laetitia Barbauld’s recitation of William Taylor’s English translation of Gottfried August Bürger’s supernatural ballad ‘Lenore’ in Edinburgh in 1794, it shows how Scottish writers from this moment onwards were inspired to merge the conventions of Gothic poetry with the balladic and folkloric traditions of their own country. What resulted, the chapter shows, was that distinctive form of textually complex writing that characterises much Scottish Gothic writing of the period, a mode that, in its preoccupations with dialogic voices, splitting and uncanny doubling, enacted some of the political and cultural tensions that lay at the heart of the nation itself.
The question of realism helps us zero in on a certain puzzle about perhaps the most important Irish writer working in this important period of transition. On the face of it, Edgeworth’s relation to anything called fictional realism might seem distant. Her narratives often tend to allegory and didacticism; they tend to be highly reflexive; she often adapts or incorporates non-realist genres, such as the fairy tale or legend; and, for some critics, she belongs to an Irish tradition in which realism is thought to be impossible on social and cultural grounds. And yet Edgeworth was a leading influence on the two British novelists – Sir Walter Scott and Jane Austen – who, in their contrasting ways, are often considered as key figures in the shaping of the modern realist novel. This chapter develops a solution to this puzzle by identifying Edgeworth with ‘scientific realism’, and showing that she shaped a distinctive kind of fictional practice out of her well-established commitments to experiment, observation, and the inductive method.
By examining a constellation of writings originating in the years 1822 to 1824, this chapter brings together various forms of mobility and speculation. Galt’s Sir Andrew Wylie, of that Ilk depicts an enterprising protagonist’s move from rural Scotland to London and back again, once he has undergone a performative process of identity construction in a series of socio–economic fields. Published first in periodicals and then collected into volumes entitled Our Village, Mitford’s prose sketches about life in rural Berkshire document changes caused by speculation on property and new modes of transportation that increase both voluntary and involuntary mobility. Saint Ronan’s Well, Scott’s only novel set in the nineteenth century, presents the related but contrasting scenario of a Scottish village disrupted by the speculative development of a fashionable spa; it interweaves themes of gambling and identity theft with a critique of contemporary print culture and reading habits. Recurring motifs in these works show how authors and characters respond to changes in socio-economic relations as increased mobility affects their capacity to control literary, personal, and real property.
A concluding discussion of personal and textual identities, doubling, and fraud centres on a constellation of Scottish novels. Galt’s Andrew of Padua, the Improvisatore (1820) is a pseudo–autobiography wrapped in a pseudo–translation that leads readers on into a multilayered, improvised hoax. Republished together with his novel Rothelan in 1824, Galt’s tale joins several novels about imitation and imposture published almost simultaneously in that year: Hogg’s Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner, Scott’s Redgauntlet, Susan Ferrier’s Inheritance, Sarah Green’s Scotch Novel Reading, and versions of Walladmor by Willibald Alexis and Thomas De Quincey. Together, these works show how not only personal identity but also historical events and books themselves can be fraudulently duplicated. From the psychologically fragmented identities and demonic doubling illustrated in Hogg’s Private Memoirs to the fraudulent pseudo–translation Walladmor, these novels interweave the practices of speculation and identity construction typical of late-Romantic print and performance culture.
To witness the reconfiguration of Great Britain into the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, Joseph Johnson published an anonymous novel titled Castle Rackrent. Morgan represents the way that early nineteenth-century women writers helped to redefine the place of fiction in public discourse and highlighted its active role in the formation of the modern nation. The domestic novels and national tales opened up speculative spaces even as they continued to work inside the political terms of national settlement. Reinventing historical romance as the modern historical novel in Waverley, Walter Scott explicitly built out of the work of female writers from the peripheries, naming Edgeworth, Hamilton and Anne Grant as predecessors in the postscript to his first novel. The Waverley Novels fused romance, theory and scholarship into a potent new narrative synthesis that for the first time articulated a fully historicist vision in fiction.
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