- Introduction: The Study of Modern Scottish History
- Land and Sea: The Environment
- The Demographic Factor
- Mythical Scotland
- Religion and Society to <i>c</i>.1900
- The Literary Tradition
- The Clearances and the Transformation of the Scottish Countryside
- A Global Diaspora
- The Renaissance
- Reformed and Godly Scotland?
- The ‘Rise’ of the State?
- Reappraising the Early Modern Economy, 1500–1650
- Scotland restored and reshaped: Politics and Religion, <i>c</i>.1660–1712
- The Early Modern Family
- The Seventeenth-Century Irish Connection
- New Perspectives on Pre-union Scotland
- Migrant Destinations, 1500–1750
- Union Historiographies
- Scottish Jacobitism in its International Context
- The Rise (and fall?) of the Scottish Enlightenment
- The Barbarous North? Criminality in Early Modern Scotland
- Industrialization and the Scottish People
- Scotland and the Eighteenth-Century Empire
- The Challenge of Radicalism to 1832
- The Scottish Cities
- Identity within the Union State, 1800–1900
- The Scottish Diaspora since 1815
- The Impact of the Victorian Empire
- The Great War
- The Interwar Crisis: The Failure of Extremism
- The Religious Factor
- Gender and Nationhood in Modern Scottish Historiography
- The Stateless Nation and the British State since 1918
- Challenging the Union
- A New Scotland? The Economy
- A New Scotland? Society and Culture
Abstract and Keywords
Robert Burns, both the son of a peasant and an ardent reader of earlier Scottish poetry, made Scots vernacular a key and continuing element in Scotland's literary and national identity, even while the nation's eighteenth-century literati were training themselves to avoid ‘Scotticisms’ and to produce polished English. The role of Scots gave Scottish literature its defining difference from the English literature that the Scots so assiduously studied in their courses in Rhetoric and Belles Lettres. That the oldest continuing literary language in Scotland was not Scots, but Gaelic, did not have the same defining impact on Scottish literature and Scottish identity. The most influential literary event of eighteenth-century Scotland was the publication, in 1760, of James Macpherson's Fragments of Ancient Poetry. Macpherson's Ossianic poems are doubly poems of memory. In 1730, the London-based Scot James Thomson published a long poem entitled The Seasons, whose celebration of the natural world introduced into anglophone poetry something that would later be identified as ‘Romanticism’.
Cairns Craig, FRSE, FBA, Glucksman Professor of Irish and Scottish Studies, University of Aberdeen
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