Yuko Matsui

Re-imagining Scotland: Devolution Novels, the Highland Culture, and Walter Scott

This paper explores the ways in which an alternative Scotland has been imagined through a group of novels which deal with the idea of Scottish devolution / independence, paying special attention to the role of the Highland culture and the reception of Walter Scott in them. Since one of its earliest examples appeared at the period of the Scottish / Modernist Renaissance, the genre has received fresh impetus from the devolution and independence referenda in 1997 and 2014, forming an intriguing site for enacting the idea of a futuristic Scotland in popular imagination.

The paper first examines the representation of the Highland region and culture as Scotland’s signs in some of these novels, including John Connell’s David Go Back (1935), which in fact shares main industrial and economic concerns with Dot Allan’s Hunger March (1934) and Lewis Grassic Gibbon’s Grey Granite (1934), as well as Charles Hendry Dand’s parodic response, The Scotching of the Snake (1958). It will then look at the genre’s dual attitude towards Walter Scott as founder of Scottish myths in order to reconsider the implemental part played by Scott and his works in animating the idea of an alternative Scotland and imagining its future.

Yuko Matsui, Aoyama Gakuin University, Japan