Papers presented by members of the Scottish Literature Discussion Group at the Modern Language Association (MLA) convention in January 2018.

Introduction: ‘Scottish Women Writers and the Novel before 1900’

The following four essays were developed from papers that were presented by their authors in January, 2018, at the annual meeting of Modern Language Association, in New York City, on the Scottish Literature Forum panel, which I chaired during my last year of service on the Scottish executive committee. Back in 2017, when the committee […]

Oliphant & Co.

Margaret Oliphant (1828-96) has attained the obscure place in English literary history that she gloomily predicted for herself in her posthumously published autobiography: ‘No one will mention me in the same breath with George Eliot. And that is just. It is a little justification to myself to think how much better off she was. Should […]

Margaret Todd’s Novel Mentorship in ‘Mona Maclean Medical Student’

Published eight years after Robert Louis Stevenson’s ‘The Body Snatcher’ (1884) and two years before Arthur Conan Doyle’s anthology of medical stories Round the Red Lamp (1894), Margaret Todd’s Mona Maclean Medical Student: A Novel (1892) highlights similar medical topics yet evinces a strikingly different female sensibility in relation to training and physician-patient relationships. One […]

Laughter not Tears: Jean Marishall’s Sentimental Fiction

By the end of the eighteenth century, British women novelists were out-publishing their male contemporaries, yet Scottish women were contributing relatively little to this outpouring of female-authored fiction. The eighteenth-century Scottish writer Jean Marishall’s description of her mother’s shock upon learning that her daughter had turned author confirms scholars’ sense of this imbalance and the […]

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 […]


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