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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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Robert Burns and the Scottish Bawdy Politic

Robert Burns and the Scottish Bawdy Politic

(p.42) Chapter 4 Robert Burns and the Scottish Bawdy Politic
Scottish Gothic

Hamish Mathison

Edinburgh University Press

Oft-times, Lowland Scots wrote of death in the eighteenth century without engaging in what we now call ‘Scottish Gothic’. Witness Robert Blair, above, Edinburgh-born, as he brings the adverb ‘complexionally’ to an otherwise straightforward example of the ancient and melancholy ubi sunt trope.1 Blair’s melancholy is here expressed in a fantastically influential poem called The Grave (1743). Blair’s fascinating poem, to which this chapter will return at its conclusion, is rightly held to be foundational for the study of what until recently was thought of as a pan-British ‘Graveyard School’ of poetry. That label describes an extremely loose collection of mid-eighteenth-century authors whose poems were written in a more or less ‘standard’ English, and often troped the graveyard. The category invokes such disparate poets as the English-born Thomas Gray and Edward Young or the Scottish-born James Thomson and James Beattie.

Keywords:   Eighteenth-century, Death, Gothic, Politcs, Scotland

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