Scottish Literature and the British Empire

Angela Smith

in Scotland and the British Empire

Published in print October 2011 | ISBN: 9780199573240
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191731310 | DOI:

Series: Oxford History of the British Empire Companion Series

Scottish Literature and the British Empire

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The chapter opens with a discussion of attitudes to migrant experience, contrasting the achievement of Lachlan Macquarie in Australia with the inflexibility of John Wedderburn in Jamaica and Scotland. The argument then focuses on the significance of the Scottish diaspora, and specifically on the role of Scottish writers as interpreters of the dissolution of the British Empire; Robert Louis Stevenson in his South Sea Tales and John Buchan in Prester John and Sick Heart River both anticipate in their imaginative fiction the postcolonial theorists of the late twentieth century. The chapter concludes with a discussion of two contemporary Scottish writers who offer retrospective readings of aspects of empire, James Robertson and Jackie Kay, enabling a contemporary audience to re-assess their own assumptions about national identity and enacting in imagination what Stuart Hall defines as identity that lives through hybridity.

Keywords: diaspora; slavery; R L Stevenson; John Buchan; national identity; hybridity

Chapter.  10338 words. 

Subjects: Modern History (1700 to 1945)

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