Volume 70, Issue 4 | December 2009

Special Issue: Romancing Scotland

Articles
Author Title
Ian Duncan Romancing Scotland
Janet Sorensen Alternative Antiquarianisms of Scotland and the North  
In dominant accounts, the eighteenth-century "ballad revival" brought a dead form back to life by digging up old songs and restoring their force and meaning. It also brought "the people," as producers or consumers of ballads, to a kind of national public life but relegated them to an anterior temporal space. This essay offers a more differentiated history, examining Scottish and northern song collectors who differed from these formulations and provided distinct understandings of "the people" and of class. David Herd, for instance, used Scottish Enlightenment theories of sense and cognition to reverse the polarity; he did not see the collector revivifying the dead form of the ballad so much as ballads and songs themselves galvanizing the members of a nation. Joseph Ritson, an antiquarian dedicated to the most rigorous standards of authentication, also published "garlands," collections of songs from various locales in his native northeastern England. Lacking the explanatory prefaces and footnotes that might make meaning available to broader or later audiences, Ritson's garlands targeted a decidedly ephemeral local community in the present. In the face of dominant antiquarian models locating "the people" out of time, Herd and Ritson offered alternative models through which to figure "the people," rendering them as diverse, only contingently consolidated, but full participants in the here and now.
Samuel Baker Scott's Stoic Characters: Ethics, Sentiment, and Irony in The Antiquary, Guy Mannering, and "the Author of Waverley 
It is well known that Walter Scott adapted the forms of sentimental fiction for his initial trilogy of novels on Scottish manners and that he drew on philosophical theories of sympathy when conceiving of his characters and placing them in historical relation to one another and to his readership. Scott's adaptations of sentimentalism and of theories of sympathy come into sharper focus, however, once one takes seriously his claim that Stoicism is his proper philosophy and traces his ironic treatment of the figure of the sympathetic Stoic undermined by sentiment back to its eighteenth-century antecedents in Joseph Addison and Adam Smith. Like two of his early protagonists, Guy Mannering the astrologer and Jonathan Oldbuck the antiquary, "the Author of Waverley" is himself a compromised Stoic, yet Scott's narratives demonstrate repeatedly how, while it may fail on its own terms, the ancient philosophy of apathy creates the conditions of possibility for modern romance.
Ina Ferris "On the Borders of Oblivion": Scott's Historical Novel and the Modern Time of the Remnant  
This essay contends that Scott's historical novels respond to the widespread sense of displacement in postrevolutionary Europe by activating and rewriting the figure of the remnant. As remnant tales, his novels are less about the loss of the past or its relationship to the present than about a disconnection in the present itself. Belonging neither to the past nor to the present, the remnant draws attention to modernity's temporality as that of the time lag: a suspension of connection and continuity that generates a curiously insubstantial existence in the present. Rereading Scott heroes like Edgar Ravenswood and Henry Morton as remnants, the essay traces the implications of their untimeliness, arguing that the remnant's awkward lingering moves into the foreground the problem of obsolescence and releases in the fictions a meditative-speculative mood answering to the question of how modern cultures live on.
Michael Gamer Waverley and the Object of (Literary) History  
This essay revisits the question of Walter Scott's innovation as a novelist, and Waverley's status as the first historical novel, by showing the degree to which such markers of reputation were fictions of Scott's own making. The essay begins by examining how Scott's manipulation of the novel's date of composition, his ostentatious rejection of contemporary genres, and his later self-review of the novel effectively cleared Waverley of contemporary competitors and bolstered its claims to newness. It then turns to Scott's other strategy, that of looking beyond contemporary generic models to those of the mid-eighteenth century. In thus arguing for Waverley as a rumination on the history of the novel "sixty years since"—as a literary-historical as well as historical novel—the essay considers Scott's debt to the most popular of these midcentury fictions, the object narrative, by reading Waverley in light of its conventions and practices.
Reviews
Author Title
Christopher Miller Hazard Adams, The Offense of Poetry
John Watkins Judith H. Anderson, Reading the Allegorical Intertext: Chaucer, Spenser, Shakespeare, Milton
Adam Roberts Herbert F. Tucker, Epic: Britain's Heroic Muse, 1790-1910
Elisa Tamarkin Martha Banta, One True Theory and the Quest for an American Aesthetic
Susan S. Lanser Heather Love, Feeling Backward: Loss and the Politics of Queer History

Modern Language Quarterly | Department of English, Box 354330 | University of Washington | Seattle, WA 98195-4430
mlq@u.washington.edu