- Scottish Literary Review
SCOTTISH LITERARY REVIEW is the leading international journal for Scottish literary studies, committed to approaching Scottish literature in an expansive way through exploration of its various social, cultural, historical and philosophical contexts, and of literary forms, both traditional and new. We are interested in comparative work with literatures from beyond Scotland, the interaction of literature with expressive media such as theatre and film, and in encouraging debate on issues of contemporary significance related to Scottish literary studies, so that SLR is both responsive to, and creative of, new readings and approaches. The journal is listed in the MLA International Bibliography and issues from 2013 onwards are accessible online as part of Project MUSE’s Premium Collection.
No Scottish writer at the present moment surpasses the literary critical mass of Walter Scott. The Scott scholarly community is striking not only for its overall heft, but its wide distribution, in Europe, aside from the UK, as well as in North America, to say nothing of Asia, Australia and South America. The Tenth International Scott Conference was held on 8–12 July 2014 at the University of Aberdeen (until recently this conference has taken place every four years but has now moved to a three year cycle), and this special issue of the Scottish Literary Review draws on papers given there as well as other submitted articles. The spike in attention to ‘Scottish Romanticism’ and the internationally recognised editorial project that has been the Edinburgh Edition of the Waverley Novels of Walter Scott, now complete in thirty volumes, have undoubtedly provided strong impetuses for the critically sophisticated rediscovery of Scott from the latter part of the twentieth century onwards. The insights arising from these activities have swept aside earlier, badly theorised certainties about Scott’s ‘failure’ to be a true Romantic, or his writing being merely unionist propaganda or, indeed, his creation of a dangerously irresponsible ‘Scottland’.
The particular theme of the Aberdeen conference was ‘Activating the Archive’, which foregrounded the University of Aberdeen’s Bernard C. Lloyd Collection of Walter Scott Materials, one of the biggest such repositories in the world. However, the topic of ‘Activating the Archive’ was chosen not only to showcase the collections and how they might be developed for wider use but also invited reflection on Scott’s engagement with the written, [End Page v] material and oral ‘archives’ which informed his work. It prompted discussion of what the ‘archive’ might mean to scholarship more generally.
Our issue begins with a version of a mini-symposium from the Aberdeen conference, celebrating the lead given to contemporary Scott Studies by Professor Jane Millgate. Tara Ghoshal Wallace, Ian Duncan, Peter Garside, David Hewitt, J. H. Alexander and Caroline McCracken-Flesher all pay tribute to Professor Millgate’s original critical acumen, place this in the context of helping inspire new Scott editorial endeavours and of paying much-needed attention also to a rich array of documents including letters and book history materials. The plenary lectures were by Ann Rigney, who drew on her work in memory and commemoration studies to contemplate both how Scott engages with the archive and in turn forms part of it, and by David Hewitt who drew on his vast experience of editing Scott and working on him critically to reflect on Scott’s bank of knowledge and how it is used in his work. Both lectures are published here. They are joined by papers by Gillian Hughes, who considers Scott’s use of notes in The Lay of the Last Minstrel, by Nancy M. Goslee, who reflects on Scott’s revisiting of the archive in his late fiction, and by Caroline McCracken-Flesher, who views the archive as a site of productive anxiety, mediated via Abbotsford and Scott’s engagement with landscape. Lucy MacCrae’s paper explores the roles played by Shortreed and Laidlaw in one of Scott’s own projects in archival collection, Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border, while Julie Watt looks at Scott’s relationship to Letitia Elizabeth Landon. Finally, Deirdre Shepherd ‘hunts for Walter Scott’ in the work of R. S. Surtees. The range and critical acumen demonstrated in the...