Chapter

The Condition of England

Andrew Lincoln

in Walter Scott and Modernity

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print April 2007 | ISBN: 9780748626069
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748651870 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3366/edinburgh/9780748626069.003.0003
The Condition of England

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This chapter looks at the time when Scott first turned to English history in his fiction, and shows the relevance of public spectacle in creating popularity. It first examines Ivanhoe, which deals with a condition created by disruptive change or typical of modernity. The novel also leaves individual identities obscure and shows the function of spectacle in establishing political power. The second novel studied in the chapter is Kenilworth, which focuses on a world where the characteristic features of modernity emerge very distinctly. The chapter studies the emphasis Scott placed on appearance, which allows a relevant gap to emerge between the private and the public individual. It also observes the dual role of the novel and its moral themes, which are in conflict with the theme of national unity.

Keywords: English history; Ivanhoe; disruptive change; individual identities; public spectacle; political power; Kenilworth; moral themes; national unity; popularity

Chapter.  9464 words. 

Subjects: Literary Studies (20th Century onwards)

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