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Taking Liberties

Scottish Literature and Expressions of Freedom

Edited by Ian Brown, David Clark and Rubén Jarazo-Álvarez

Publication Year: 2016

The notion of “freedom” has long been associated with a number of perceptions deemed fundamental to an understanding of Scotland and the Scots. Thus Scottish history is viewed, from resistance to the Roman Empire, to the Wars of Independence against England, to the eighteenth-century Jacobite uprisings, to the birth of the Labour and Trade Union movements. Key Scottish texts have the concept of liberty at their core: the Declaration of Arbroath, Barbour’s Brus, Blind Hary’s Wallace, the poems of Robert Burns and Hugh MacDiarmid and the novels of Janice Galloway and Irvine Welsh. Scottish thinkers have written extensively on the philosophies of freedom, be it individual, economic, or religious. These essays examine the question of “freedom”, its representations and its interpretations within the literatures of Scotland.

Published by: Association for Scottish Literary Studies

Series: Occasional Papers series

Cover

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Title Page, Copyright

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pp. i-ii

Contents

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pp. iii-iv

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Introduction

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pp. v-x

One of the overarching themes evident in Scottish literary genres since the 1707 Union has been expression of conceptions of liberty or freedom or lack of liberty or freedom, variously defined. This volume explores understandings of the ways in which Scottish writers have sought to...

Part 1. Concepts and Themes

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1. Liberty and Scottish Literature

Alan Riach

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pp. 1-18

The word ‘liberty’ refers to a matter of value, a quality that people might wish to sustain to have greater control over their own lives, to be free from the impositions of others. This desire is entwined among the deepest roots of Scottish history, and rarely does it blossom into fruit that can be seen...

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2. Allan Ramsay’s A Dialogue on Taste: a painter’s call to break free from English artistic conventions

Marion Amblard

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pp. 19-39

In the second half of the eighteenth century, a distinctive Scottish style of portrait painting began to emerge. Although its development coincided with that of English portraiture, the Scottish school of portrait painting has always been markedly different from its English counterpart. Both schools...

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3. ‘A Common Right of Mankind’ or ‘A Necessary Evil’? Hume’s contextualist conception of political liberty

Gilles Robel

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pp. 40-54

This chapter will focus on one specific form of political liberty examined in one of Hume’s essays, ‘Of the Liberty of the Press’ (1741), but its contention is that this essay opens a window into the main features and complexities of Hume’s conception of political liberty. ‘Of the Liberty of the Press’ is...

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4. Versions of freedom and the theatre in Scotland since the Union

Jean Berton

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pp. 55-71

In his twelfth essay on Civil Liberty, David Hume wrote: ‘It has been observed by the ancients, that all the arts and sciences arose among free nations’.1 Whether the Scots felt free or not in the Athens of the North within the union with England is an issue open for debate. Nevertheless, the object of...

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5. Freeing the tongue: Scots language on stage in the twentieth century

Ian Brown

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pp. 72-92

This chapter considers a range of attitudes to the use of Scots language on stage throughout the twentieth century. It draws attention to early attempts to use Scots for significant topics before the First World War, before addressing the experiments of the Scottish National Players and Joe Corrie...

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6. The nature of aesthetics in the works of Mary Brunton, Hugh MacDiarmid and Alasdair Gray

Andrew Monnickendam

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pp. 93-110

In the introduction to Hugh MacDiarmid’s Aesthetics in Scotland (1984), Alan Bold comments that it is, for its author, ‘an unusually contemplative piece’.1 Contemplative it might be, but it is openly polemical in nature and extensive in scope, prone to sweeping generalisations about Scotland...

Part 2. Individual Writers and Freedom

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7. Scotland and the literary call to freedom in Mary Brunton’s fiction

María Jesús Lorenzo Modia

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pp. 111-123

Mary Brunton (1778–1818) was born in the Orkneys, spent most of her life in Scotland, died in the city of Edinburgh, and published novels in which her country was a key issue. She has perhaps not been as overlooked as Mary McKerrow, her most recent biographer, suggests:2 all her works...

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8. Rivers, freedom and constraint in some of Stevenson’s autobiographical writing

Lesley Graham

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pp. 124-136

This chapter examines the various ways in which Robert Louis Stevenson, in a selection of essays from the 1880s, expresses the idea of freedom and its contrary through the image of rivers and their flow. The freedoms in question are multiple – the freedom to move forward professionally, to...

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9. Freedom and subservience in Lewis Grassic Gibbon’s Sunset Song

Philippe Laplace

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pp. 137-151

Sunset Song, the first novel of the trilogy A Scots Quair, has enjoyed a wide readership and general esteem in Scotland and throughout the world, in spite of its linguistic difficulties and its abrasive social and political standpoints. Voted ‘the best Scottish book of all time’ in 2005 in a survey backed...

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10. Women and freedom in Muriel Spark’s fiction

Margarita Estévez-Saá

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pp. 152-166

Dame Muriel Spark’s oeuvre is, together with that of Doris Lessing and A. S. Byatt, among the greatest representations of women’s salient contribution to literature in English in the twentieth century. Furthermore, her wide and prolific literary legacy can and should be considered as a privileged...

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11. Looking at America from Edinburgh Castle: postcolonial dislocations in Alice Munro’s and Ann-Marie MacDonald’s Scottish fictions

Pilar Somacarrera

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pp. 167-186

The vista referred to in the title of Alice Munro’s short story collection The View from Castle Rock is not, as expected, that of the county of Fife, but that of America. This geographical incongruity which, according to Scott Hames, could be considered a drunken prank or a transatlantic fantasy...

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12. Scottish and Galician background in Pearse Hutchinson’s poetry: freedom, identity and literary landscapes

José-Miguel Alonso-Giráldez

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pp. 187-212

This chapter pays tribute to the memory of the outstanding poet Pearse Hutchinson, born in Glasgow in 1927, who died in Dublin on 14 January 2012, aged eighty-four. A Scottish writer, though deeply linked to Irish culture, Hutchinson is a key figure in twentieth-century European literature...

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13. ‘Shall Gaelic Die?’: Iain Crichton Smith’s bilingualism – entrapment or poetic freedom?

Stéphanie Noirard

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pp. 213-223

Does choosing a language impinge on your writing? This is a question Iain Crichton Smith, as a bilingual poet, often had occasion to ponder. He was brought up in the Gaelic language until he went to school where he then had to speak English and was confronted solely by an Anglocentric culture...

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14. Henry Adam’s Among Unbroken Hearts (2000): Mankind’s desperate quest for freedom

Danièle Berton-Charrière

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pp. 224-236

In Henry Adam’s Among Unbroken Hearts (2000)1 four characters, covering a wide age-range, meet in a village in a wild, deserted rural area of northern Scotland, represented as a dead-end open space which paradoxically offers little opportunity to free oneself from alienating factors. The place appears...

Notes on Contributors

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pp. 237-242

Back Cover

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E-ISBN-13: 9781908980229
Print-ISBN-13: 9781908980212

Page Count: 240
Publication Year: 2016

Series Title: Occasional Papers series
See more Books in this Series

OCLC Number: 962781614
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