Where We Never Were: Scottish Women Writers at Walter Scott’s Abbotsford

‘Our house is the least that ever harboured decent folks since the traditionary couple who lived in the Vinegar bottle’, Walter Scott wrote to the actress Sarah Smith in 1814. Still, ‘if you come […] we will find a corner for you.’ As with Smith, a substantial number of Scott’s visitors to his house in […]

‘His Bloody Project’ by Graeme Macrae Burnet

Graeme Macrae Burnet’s His Bloody Project has already achieved well-deserved fame. In 2016, it was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize. So it needs no recommendation. It does, however, merit analysis, for this is a novel that manages to interrogate the complex banalities of everyday life through the horrors of a crime — and vice versa. This […]

Future Scotts: The Aliens have Landed

Walter Scott, we take for granted, wrote within the historical and realist tradition. Yet Scott’s true heirs may write not of the past, but of the future – not of Scotland, but of boldly going ‘where no one has gone before’. Certainly, whether as poet or as novelist, Scott favored the past. Writing of events […]

Scottish Studies after Cultural Studies: Response by Caroline McCracken-Flesher

In 1919, responding to G. Gregory Smith’s assertion of a distinct Scottish literature, T. S. Eliot quipped: ‘Was there a Scottish Literature?’1 Rising—or sinking—to the challenge the next two generations of authors and scholars spilled much ink to demonstrate that there had been in the past and continued to be in their moment. Alternately, courtesy of […]

Independent Thinking: Scotland’s Inscription of Separation: Response by Caroline McCracken-Flesher

The personal, we know, is always political. Since the 1970s, we have learned to respect cultural difference expressed in individuals, and to stand alert to its political import. Thus in recent years, Scottish authors have been newly understood as authoring Scotland, or at least expressing it. The nation is inscribed by its authors, and authors, […]

‘Scotland and the 19th-Century World’ edited by Gerard Carruthers, David Goldie, and Alastair Renfrew

‘I have already a better method—the kinetic’ Robert Louis Stevenson Late twentieth-century criticism of Scottish Literature often seems bedevilled by the past even as it tries to retrieve it for a new future. Since the 1990s, increasingly critics have recognised the remarkable achievements of a range of Scottish authors denigrated by their predecessors for their […]

Scotland as Science Fiction

Though cinematic aliens pile up on the White House lawn, and monsters show a fatal attraction to a dwindling colonial power centered in south Britain, science fiction criticism typically considers its subject global in practice and universal in aspiration. This is a position of paradox—and therefore worthy both of the fictions of science and of […]


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