Abstract and Keywords
This chapter argues that the Romantic period was a formative one in terms of dialect representation, marking a shift from the representation of a narrow range of dialects for primarily comic purposes in the eighteenth century to a much broader range of dialects with a greater range of literary functions in the nineteenth century. The chapter identifies three key challenges that arise when analysing historical representations of dialect: changes in understandings of the concept of ‘dialect’, the different trajectories taken by specific dialects, and the ideological implications of representing dialect in literature. The chapter identifies Scots as the most significant literary dialect of the Romantic period, and demonstrates that representations of dialect occur at the intersection of a number of highly contested categories, including class, nation, and region.
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