Leith Davis

Re-Framing Jacobitism Through Book History and Digital Humanities: “The Lyon in Mourning” Manuscript Project

This presentation re-examines “The Lyon in Mourning,” a group of ten manuscript books compiled between 1747 and 1775 by the Episcopalian clergyman Robert Forbes as a record of Jacobite cultural memory following the defeat of the Jacobites after Culloden. I begin by providing an update on the “Lyon in Mourning” Digital Humanities project, a partnership between Simon Fraser University’s Research Centre for Scottish Studies and Digital Humanities Innovation Lab and the National Library of Scotland. I then use current results derived from “The Lyon in Mourning” Project in order to intervene in two areas of scholarly study. On the one hand, I suggest that adopting a Book History approach to the work can offer scholars of Jacobite and British Studies a fuller understanding of “The Lyon in Mourning” manuscript as a medial interface, allowing us to consider the manuscript in relation to what scholars such as Margaret Ezell, Michelle Levy, Rachel Scarborough King and Betty Schellenberg have discussed as an ongoing and active culture of manuscript literature in eighteenth-century Britain. On the other hand, drawing attention to the way that the manuscript represents the different media ecologies and multi-lingual societies that exist in the geographically peripheral nations of the British Isles during the eighteenth century, I suggest that examining the intersections of the individual oral, manuscript and printed items contained in “The Lyon in Mourning” can contribute to the development of a more archipelagic approach to the History of the Book.

Leith Davis, Simon Fraser University, Canada