Roger Mason

in The Oxford Handbook of Holinshed's Chronicles

Published in print December 2012 | ISBN: 9780199565757
Published online January 2013 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks of Literature


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This chapter examines accounts of Scotland and the Scots in Holinshed's Chronicles. It first looks at how Scotland is represented in the Scottish Chronicle itself, derived essentially from Scottish sources, and presenting an image of the Scottish kingdom as ancient and autonomous, using its glorious past to legitimize its present independence. The marginalia to this self-congratulatory narrative, which exudes a degree of editorial scepticism, if not outright hostility, is then introduced; and this second, much less flattering representation of Scotland and the Scots is equally evident in the chronicle of England, where the Scottish crown's feudal dependence on its English counterpart is built into the narrative from the very outset. The discussion then turns to Harrison's Description of Britain, which depicts underlying assumptions of cultural superiority, contrasting Scottish barbarism with English civility.

Keywords: Chronicles; Scots; Scottish history; William Harrison; Raphael Holinshed; Description of Britain

Article.  8499 words. 

Subjects: Literature ; Literary Studies (1500 to 1800)

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