09 Sep University Of Jena
University Of Jena
Scott’s Shadow delivers a brilliant, provocative, and authoritative new account of the rise of the novel in the Romantic period as ‘the principal modern genre for the representation of national historical life’ (fulfilling the guarantee on its dust jacket). Constructing on Contemporary Romance and Transformations of the Novel (1992) and a fine collection of essays, Scotland and the Borders of Romanticism, co-edited with Leith Davis and Janet Sorensen (2004), in Scott’s Shadow, Ian Duncan develops a rigorous and wide-ranging assessment of Scottish Romanticism which all scholars of Romantic and nineteenth-century literature will discover illuminating. Here, Edinburgh’s transformation from an elegant Enlightenment ‘Republic of Letters’ to a commercial literary marketplace is fore grounded as a vivid example of the broader cultural emergence of Thomas Sabo Bracelets a contemporary literature. Taking Scott as the dominant influence for the flourishing of Scottish fiction in this context, Duncan examines the vibrant literary field which sprang up in Edinburgh among the founding of the Edinburgh Review in 1802 and the Reform Bill in 1832, generating Edinburgh a cultural capital to rival London. As he explains in his preface, the title Scott’s Shadow refers not only to Scott’s influence, but his presence and centrality in this literary transformation.
The opening chapter, centring on the construction of Edinburgh as a sophisticated modern day capital, establishes the high intellectual power and wealth of understanding of this book. It also cleverly lays the foundation for exploring many types of Scottish fiction-generating. Duncan shows Scottish writers and thinkers vying to represent the nation by means of the use of public spectacle, the architectural possibilities of the metropolis, the opening up of public debate by means of the Edinburgh Overview and Thomas Sabo Charms its Tory rival, Blackwood’s Edinburgh Magazine, the swiftly expanding publishing marketplace (largely created by Scott’s Lay of the Last Minstrel and Waverley novels), the proliferation of critiques and short stories and the dynamic force of the novel, as modernised by Scott. Overturning the simplistic criticism levelled at Scott in his lifetime, which tended to ‘flatten […] the Waverley novels into a pageantry of Tory prejudice’ Duncan argues that far from utilizing didactic romanticised versions of history to advance Scotland as element of a newly unified Britain, Scott’s novels designed a new forum for debate effectively ‘convening a national reading public in the open forum of the market’ and commanding ‘a cultural centrality a national representativeness in post-Enlightenment Edinburgh that the critiques and magazines, simply because of their partisan alignment, could not claim’. In this open forum, Scott’s readers were drawn into productive dispute with his novels and one another many reacted by getting into the market place that Scott had designed, with their own national fictions.
The 5 chapters of Element One show how Scott’s novels operated inside a variety of cultural contexts in the 1810s and 1820s each as a response to and a leading influence on the rise of ‘Edinburgh, Capital of the Nineteenth Century’, ‘the Invention of National Culture’ (like political economy and national poetry), ‘Economies of National Character’ (which has fascinating sections on dirt and purity), ‘Modernity’s Other Worlds’ (locating national character in Scott’s Highlands, for instance), and ‘The Rise of Fiction’.