‘Ripping Up Auld Stories’: Exhumation and the Gothic Imagination in <i>Redgauntlet</i>

Fiona Robertson

in Legitimate Histories

Published in print April 1994 | ISBN: 9780198112242
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191670725 | DOI:

Series: Oxford English Monographs

‘Ripping Up Auld Stories’: Exhumation and the Gothic Imagination in Redgauntlet

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  • Literary Studies (1500 to 1800)


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This chapter examines one of Scott's most interesting experiments in historicism and the fictional patterns of Gothic, Redgauntlet. In Redgauntlet, Scott examines the appeal of history to the imagination through the invention and narration of striking stories, which unify and explain, but also distort and misrepresent, the mass of circumstantial detail on which they depend. The novel is itself a misrepresentation, a notorious example of what Mary Lascelles has called ‘the historical event that never happened’. It invented, with impressive circumstantial particularity, an entirely fictitious Jacobite plot in 1765.

Keywords: Walter Scott; Gothic fiction; historicism; Gothic novel

Chapter.  7483 words. 

Subjects: Literary Studies (1500 to 1800)

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