Sir Walter Scott on the Field of Waterloo

Yoon Sun Lee

in Nationalism and Irony

Published in print June 2004 | ISBN: 9780195162356
Published online September 2007 | e-ISBN: 9780199787852 | DOI:
 Sir Walter Scott on the Field of Waterloo

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This chapter examines why and how Scott used antiquarianism to articulate his complex, ironic nationalism. Despite its avowed patriotic intentions, antiquarianism rested on assumptions about history that undercut the traditionalism that dominated Britain's public culture during its wars with France. Antiquarian foraging for scraps, fragments, and illegible objects could embarrass or even undermine belief in national character as an unbroken inheritance, an ideology particularly visible in the broadsides and ballads of the 1790s. In his own activities at Waterloo and in his historical novel, The Antiquary, Scott showed how antiquarianism can be critical, skeptical, and commercially-minded at the same time that it upheld cherished national fictions. Scott's historical novels often reveal how outdated ideologies can be recycled by modern commercial societies.

Keywords: antiquarianism; patriotism; traditionalism; national character; historical novel; commercial society; The Antiquary

Chapter.  14586 words. 

Subjects: Literary Studies (19th Century)

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