Myth, Political Caricature and Monstering the Tartan

Ian Brown

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:
Myth, Political Caricature and Monstering the Tartan

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This chapter emphasises that myths, including tartan mythologies, are not false or inauthentic history, although they may have historical roots. It suggests that they are embodiments of often rich contradictions that demand exploration, analysis, and understanding, and cannot simply be dismissed as ‘backward’ or substituted ingenuously by new ‘progressivist’ mythologies. It notes that one of the key tartan myths involved its role as an identifier of clan or family membership. It considers the ways in which tartan appears to have come to be linked to clans or families in order to see whether such words make sense. It observes that it is common ground that the process of linking specific tartan setts to specific families was systematised only in the early nineteenth century, particularly in the context of the 1822 royal visit to Edinburgh.

Keywords: myths; tartan; progressivist mythologies; clan; family membership; Edinburgh

Chapter.  7782 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Regional and Area Studies

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