Papers presented by members of the Scottish Literature Discussion Group at the Modern Language Association (MLA) convention in January 2017.

‘The Scotch Diable Boiteaux’, or, The Lame Scottish Devil: Masonic Rebellion and the Rise of the Whigs

Historically, Scottish freemasonry has been characterized as a loyalist body focused on organizational solidarity and political stability. Indeed, during the eighteenth century, internal politics certainly influenced the trajectory of freemasonry. Some historians have commented that freemasonry was principally a convivial association; more recently, historians such as John Money have argued that the society retained intrinsic […]

Margaret Oliphant at the Margins of Maga

From its early nineteenth-century beginnings, Blackwood’s Edinburgh Magazine, known popularly as Maga, embraced a masculine form of sociability that had antecedents in Addison and Steele’s Spectator, and in the moral philosophy of Shaftesbury and Hutcheson. This masculine sociability was most vividly embodied in the Noctes Ambrosianae, a series of satirical dialogues that, as Margaret Oliphant explained in her […]

Literate Shepherds in ‘Hodden-Gray’: Allan Ramsay and the Limits of Pastoral

‘Hodden-gray’, defined in the Dictionary of the Scots Language as ‘the homespun woolen cloth of the natural undyed colour’, crops up at two significant points in the work of Allan Ramsay. In particular, his use of ‘hodden-gray’ for a figure of humility, of ‘a homely unaffected individual’, highlights how Ramsay both uses pastoral and also strains against its […]

Introduction to ‘Scottish Sociability: The Literature of Clubs and Societies’

The Scottish Forum session this year at the MLA Conference in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania focused on the theme of Scottish Sociability: the Literature of Clubs and Associations. The topic of sociability has long been a mainstay of social and cultural histories of Scotland, which often begin with mention of the seventeenth-century origins of Freemasonry in Edinburgh, […]

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