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Enlightenment, Legal Education, and CritiqueSelected Essays on the History of Scots Law, Volume 2$
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John W. Cairns

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780748682133

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748682133.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM EDINBURGH SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.edinburgh.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Edinburgh University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in ESO for personal use.date: 25 September 2021

The Noose Hidden Under Flowers: Marriage and Law in Saint Ronan’s Well

The Noose Hidden Under Flowers: Marriage and Law in Saint Ronan’s Well

(p.401) 14 The Noose Hidden Under Flowers: Marriage and Law in Saint Ronan’s Well*
Enlightenment, Legal Education, and Critique

John W Cairns

Edinburgh University Press

This chapter explores issues of the law on marriage in novels by Sir Walter Scott, focusing on Saint Ronan's Well. In a number of ways, Scott's novels can be viewed as offering a commentary on Scots law and society. Legal themes that emerge from them can indicate more general contemporary legal concerns. This general point has been demonstrated in Bruce Beiderwell's argument that the Waverley novels made an important contribution to general discourse about crime and punishment at a crucial period in the development of new penal strategies and of reform in the criminal law. The chapter argues that the theme of marriage is central to Saint Ronan's Well and shows that the novel offers a harsh critique of aspects of the Scots law on the constitution of marriage and, at another level, of that other union — the political one of Scotland with England.

Keywords:   marriage, Sir Walter Scott, Saint Ronan's Well, Scots law, Waverley novels, Scotland, England

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