Possible Scotlands: Walter Scott and the Story of Tomorrow
No thanks to Walter Scott, Scotland has at last regained its parliament. If this statement sounds extreme, it echoes the tone that criticism of Scott and his culture has taken through the twentieth century. Scott is supposed to have provided stories of the past that allowed his country no future – that pushed it out of history. Scotland has become a place so absorbed in nostalgia that it could not construct a politics for a changing world. Possible Scotlands disagrees. It argues that the tales Scott told, however romanticized, also provided for a national future. They do not tell the story of a Scotland lost in time and lacking value. Instead they open up a narrative space where the nation is always imaginable. This book reads across Scotts complex characters and plots, his many personae, his interventions in his nations nineteenth-century politics, to reveal the author as an energetic producer of literary and national culture working to prevent a simple or singular message. Indeed, Scott invites readers into his texts to develop multiple and forward-looking interpretations of a Scotland always in formation. Scotts texts and his nation are alive in their constant retelling. Scott was an author for Scotlands new times.
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