Cloaking and Hiding: Dressing up in Robert Louis Stevenson’s ‘The Master of Ballantrae’

According to Jean Baudrillard’s now classic 1970s definition, a fetish is a fabrication. As a metaphor, an artifact and a social hieroglyph it is based on signs and appearances. The fetish attracts belief and worship. While some may have a phenomenal existence, the consciousness with which such phenomena are endowed is false, or deceptive. The […]

Introduction: Scottish Literature at the MLA 2015

Following from Matthew Wickman, it was my pleasure to chair the Modern Language Association’s Scottish Literature Discussion Group for 2014–2015. As Matthew mentioned in his column last year, the MLA provides one of the best international forums for Scottish literature with its world-wide community of more than 30,000 members from over 100 countries. The main event […]

Walter Scott and the Matter of Landscape: Ecologies of Violence for our Time

Walter Scott is receiving more attention than at any time since the early nineteenth century. Reasons for his prominence in the literary landscape are not difficult to conjecture. The bicentenary of Waverley, the Scottish Independence Referendum, the seven-hundredth anniversary of the Battle of Bannockburn, and the reopening of Abbotsford with its award-winning Visitor Centre have contributed […]

Green Scotland: Literature and the Seeds of Independence

To say that Scottish independence has been one of the most contentious political issues in the United Kingdom over the last decade would be to state a commonplace. On eighteenth September 2014 most people over sixteen years of age who are resident in Scotland will be able to vote on the long-awaited question ‘Should Scotland […]


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