Rewriting a shared past : gender, genre, and Scotland's cultural memory
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[ACCESS RESTRICTED TO THE UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI AT AUTHOR'S REQUEST.] Scotland is well known for its contrived cultural history. The efforts of many in the late-eighteenth and early-nineteenth century to manufacture its imaginary past have been documented by scholars; authors such as James Macpherson, Robert Burns, and Sir Walter Scott are readily recognized for their influence in romanticizing and refashioning Scotland's history. However, critics have not yet fully documented the literary efforts to create a newly imagined Scottish history, particularly how varying versions of a united tradition are spread across genres, genders, and decades. My research considers how lesser-known Scottish authors, namely the poet Alexander Ross and playwright Joanna Baillie, in addition to understudied aspects of Scott's writings, have contributed to manufacturing a tradition and attempting to create a common understanding of Scotland's sense of its past. Drawing upon the scholarly work of Katie Trumpener, Leith Davis, Ruth Perry, David Buchan, and Ina Ferris, I formulate the term “female memory” to refer to synthesized ideas that women were the repositories of oral tradition and traditional balladry in eighteenth-century communities re-imagined in the works of Alexander Ross, Joanna Baillie, and Walter Scott. Scotland's cultural memory was created anew as these authors by drew upon gendered aspects of literature, mediating between a feminized oral tradition and a masculinized print culture. My close readings of these texts help us to understand how eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century literature attempted (sometimes successfully) to manufacture a unified image of a nation.
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