Reading Romantic Character: Communal Singularity in the Poetry of Robert Burns

In a letter to his old schoolmaster, John Murdoch, Robert Burns frames his literary ambitions as a kind of ‘reading’: I seem to be one sent into the world, to see, and observe […] the joy of my heart is to ‘Study men, their manners, and their ways’ [Pope: January and May, line 157] […] […]

Nuair Nach Eil Leughadh Gu Leòr (When Reading Is Not Enough)

If you are reading this article, you are obtaining information in a second-hand form, translated at least once from oral to written, from aural to visual, and from Gaelic to English. That is why reading is not enough to understand and appreciate eighteenth-century Gaelic poetry and song. To illustrate this thesis, consider the following example […]

Haunted Huntly

The depiction of the urban landscape as an uncanny or supernatural space is a clear theme in a range of Scottish writing. James Hogg’s Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner (1824) provides a detailed depiction of Edinburgh, in the early 1700s, as a city haunted by the sinister and demonic Gil-Martin, who in […]

Introduction: ‘Ways of Reading Scotland’

As an academic discipline, literary studies has long taken ‘close reading’ as its central methodology, but even staunch supporters of close reading, like me, must acknowledge that it provides a relatively limited way of interacting with texts. Moreover, it relies upon a relatively limited definition of a text as a material artefact composed of words.  […]


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