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The Dramatic Contrast Between An Emerging 'romantic' And An Idealized 'classical' Edinburgh

By Author: Solo Chen
Total Articles: 129

Chapter S culminates with Hume's vital role in the history of the novel through his recognition of fiction as an 'authentic' representation of common life and Scott's working out of those realist principles. Part Two concentrates more specifically on responses to Scott in the 'rival projects' of other writers who, in Duncan's view, 'were compelled to accept, refuse, or work through their configuration as Thomas Sabo Jewellery shades of Scott', among whom were James Hogg and John Gait. Though 'shades of Scott' implies a reductive view of Hogg and Gait, Duncan delivers a stimulating analysis of their novels, testing and elucidating their achievements in relation to Scott's.

Historical and literary contexts for the novel in Romantic Edinburgh are continually interwoven in thought-provoking ways. Early on, Scott's staging of George IV's visit to Edinburgh in August 1822 as the return of a Highland chieftain to his clan is recognised as part of a prevalent cultural deployment of 'inauthenticity' a movable set of 'signifiers of sovereignty, ancestry, territoriality, and legitimacy' for imaginatively forging links to the past. Inauthenticity surfaces again as a form of textual 'self-reflexivity' through which Scott's readers were forced to reassess their own historical circumstances in the wake of the French Revolution and the Napoleonic wars. 'Reflexively insistent upon their fictional status' Duncan argues, 'Scott's novels activate skepticism rather than faith as the subjective cast of their reader's relation to history'. In Duncan's account, this friction between the author and reader gives rise to Thomas Sabo Bracelets a productive dispute; he demonstrates how Scott's fiction opened up the literary market for other writers and a readership which was struggling to make sense of the French Revolution 'as collective lived experience' and 'as rationalizing account of that experience'. Chapter 9, 'Authenticity Effects', sheds light on the products of this creative reflexivity through the attention-grabbing narrative strategies employed by Gait, Scott, and Hogg in three of their experimental Scottish historical novels, Ringan Gilhaize (1823), Redgauntlet (1824), and Confessions of a Justified Sinner (1824).

National fictionalising drives the disputed image of the city and the nation in Part One, and is developed in Part Two in the contested cultural ownership of authors' identities. From Scott's shrewd use of the King's Jaunt, we turn to the myth-making of an Edinburgh that could flaunt itself 'as a national metropolis more than a century after Scotland had lost the last of its institutions of sovereignty', reinventing itself as 'The Modern Athens' (p. 8). Using a fascinating selection of illustrations of Edinburgh from the 1820s, Duncan highlights the dramatic contrast between an emerging 'romantic' and an idealised 'classical' Edinburgh.

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