Re-enacting <i>Ivanhoe</i>

Ann Rigney

in The Afterlives of Walter Scott

Published in print March 2012 | ISBN: 9780199644018
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191738784 | DOI:
Re-enacting Ivanhoe

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Chapter 4 pursues the case of Ivanhoe, concentrating on its afterlife in the USA and critically revisiting Mark Twain’s claim that Scott somehow ‘caused’ the American Civil War. An account is offered of the performative reception of Scott’s work in the USA, particularly of the re-enactments of Ivanhoe in the form of tournaments in the South and other appropriations of the story in material culture. It shows how Scott’s novels were used as a narrative template to understand the divisions within American society. It argues that Scott did not cause the Civil War, but that his work helped shape its political imaginary and, as a memory site known both North and South, its subsequent remembrance. As an imaginary resource, Scott’s work was appropriated in radically opposed ways by both those advancing racism (Griffith) and those opposing it (Chesnutt)

Keywords: Ivanhoe; narrative template; United States; performative reception; re-enactment; tournaments; memory site; Mark Twain; C. W. Chesnutt; D. W. Griffith

Chapter.  8445 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Literary Studies (19th Century)

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