Chapter

Plaiding The Invention of Scotland

Murray Pittock

in From Tartan to Tartanry

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print November 2010 | ISBN: 9780748638772
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748653539 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3366/edinburgh/9780748638772.003.0003
Plaiding The Invention of Scotland

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This chapter notes that in 1983, Eric Hobsbawm and Terence Ranger published what was to become regarded as a key study, The Invention of Tradition, with Cambridge University Press. It reports that it contained a number of high-profile chapters, including one which dealt with Scotland in the Romantic period, Hugh Trevor-Roper's ‘The Invention of Tradition: The Highland Tradition of Scotland’ which claimed that Macpherson's Ossian was a fake and a fraud based on a ‘usurpation of Irish culture’, and that the modern kilt was an invention of the eighteenth century and that family tartans belonged to the nineteenth century. It notes that the Trevor-Roper position became prestigious and influential, despite its author's lack of acquaintance with Scottish history or Gaelic scholarship (for example, the idea that ‘racially and culturally’ the Highlands ‘was a colony of Ireland’).

Keywords: Eric Hobsbawm; Terence Ranger; Romantic period; Hugh Trevor-Roper; Macpherson's Ossian; Irish culture; family tartans; Gaelic scholarship; Highlands

Chapter.  6947 words. 

Subjects: Regional and Area Studies

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