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Scottish GothicAn Edinburgh Companion$
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Carol Margaret Davison and Monica Germana

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9781474408196

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: May 2020

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474408196.001.0001

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The Politics and Poetics of the ‘Scottish Gothic’ from Ossian to Otranto and Beyond

The Politics and Poetics of the ‘Scottish Gothic’ from Ossian to Otranto and Beyond

Chapter:
(p.28) Chapter 3 The Politics and Poetics of the ‘Scottish Gothic’ from Ossian to Otranto and Beyond
Source:
Scottish Gothic
Author(s):

Carol Margaret Davison

Publisher:
Edinburgh University Press
DOI:10.3366/edinburgh/9781474408196.003.0003

As Murray Pittock has cogently argued, the eighteenth century was ‘the historic battleground of the formation of Great Britain’ (1997: 1). In terms of Anglo-Scottish relations during this era, a shift occurred that saw the military battlefields of Culloden and Prestonpans give way to more intellectual battlefields and ‘culture wars’ (Moore 2003a: 46) where the question of national superiority rested upon the quality and innovation of cultural productions both ancient and modern, some of which, like James Macpherson’s Ossian, notably chronicled martial struggles. Nationalist statements proliferated about literature, especially at mid-century, such as David Hume’s comment in private correspondence in 1757 in the wake of the theatrical production of John Home’s Douglas (1756), that Scots had become, despite the devastating losses of their ‘Princes, … Parliaments, … Independent Government’, in combination with the fact that they spoke ‘a very corrupt Dialect of the [English] Tongue’, ‘the People most distinguish’d for Literature in Europe’ (1932, vol. 1: 255).

Keywords:   Gothic, Scotland, Otranto, Ossian

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