Scott's Shadow is the first comprehensive account of the flowering of Scottish fiction between 1802 and 1832, when post-Enlightenment Edinburgh rivaled London as a center for literary and cultural innovation. Ian Duncan shows how Walter Scott became the central figure in these developments, and how he helped redefine the novel as the principal modern genre for the representation of national historical life.
Duncan traces the rise of a cultural nationalist ideology and the ascendancy of Scott's Waverley novels in the years after Waterloo. He argues that the key to Scott's achievement and its unprecedented impact was the actualization of a realist aesthetic of fiction, one that offered a socializing model of the imagination as first theorized by Scottish philosopher and historian David Hume. This aesthetic, Duncan contends, provides a powerful novelistic alternative to the Kantian-Coleridgean account of the imagination that has been taken as normative for British Romanticism since the early twentieth century. Duncan goes on to examine in detail how other Scottish writers inspired by Scott's innovations--James Hogg and John Galt in particular--produced in their own novels and tales rival accounts of regional, national, and imperial history.
Scott's Shadow illuminates a major but neglected episode of British Romanticism as well as a pivotal moment in the history and development of the novel.
"A compelling account of Scottish fiction between 1802 and 1832, when Edinburgh rivalled London as a centre for literary and cultural innovation. Duncan shows Walter Scott's key role redefining the novel as the principal modern genre for the representation of national historical life."--Times Higher Education
"Duncan offers here a complex, fascinating monograph on the Scottish novel in the age of Walter Scott. . . . Mandatory reading for scholars of 19th-century studies and the history of the novel."--M.E. Burstein, Choice
"Certainly Duncan's sophisticated commentary is poised to become required reading for those with an interest in the Romantic novel, and will prove to be an invaluable resource for Scott scholars for many years to come."--Ross Alloway, Edinburgh Review
"While this book showcases Duncan's impressive originality of thought and assured command of his material, it also demands a high level of concentration from readers. The rigorous research, bold critical thinking and intensive analysis in each chapter reward careful reading. Undergraduates will appreciate being directed to specific parts of the book, but other readers will want to read it thoroughly, certainly revisiting it many times in future."--Meiko O'Halloran, Review of English Studies
"Equally learned and imaginative, the book manages both to offer a sophisticated and wholly original account of the idea of a national culture, while maintaining a rigorous and scholarly account of how the multiple strands of this national debate were rooted in the commercial and political world of Edinburgh."--Penny Fielding, Urban History
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