While The Lady of the Lake was one of the most popular and widely consumed of Walter Scott's works during the nineteenth century, readership for this work declined steeply during the twentieth century while a conception that Scott presented a cheapened and touristic vision of Scottish history through his writings became firmly enmeshed in popular consciousness. However, the critical rejuvenation that Scott has experienced in the last three decades proves that his novels and poetry offer far more complex and multilaminated constructions of national and cultural identities than the popular view would suggest. This essay calls for revisiting the role that references to the fantastic and supernatural play in The Lady of the Lake and how the inclusion of these elements impacts upon the representation of Scotland and Scottish history within the poem. It argues that this poem does not make any claims to represent the 'real' Scotland of its setting but rather clearly delineates the Scotland of the poem from the Scotland of reality through the use of references to the fantastic and supernatural to frame the narrative, offering space for reimagining the relationship of Highland and Lowland cultures to each other and to constructions of Scottish national identity.


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pp. 61-80
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