Scott in 2013: New Scholarship, Old Connections, and the Case of 'Rokeby'

Robertson, Fiona (2013) Scott in 2013: New Scholarship, Old Connections, and the Case of 'Rokeby'. St Mary's Open Research Archive.

Text (Essay based on lecture given on 16th May 2013)
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One of the oldest traditions in Scott scholarship contextualises his writings in terms of place – often, detailed and specific localities – and of personal connection. Begun by Scott himself in the frame narratives of his poems and novels, most innovatively of all in the introductory epistles to each canto of Marmion (1808), and already a biographical and critical industry by the time of the publication of John Gibson Lockhart’s Life of Scott in 1837-8, the desire to locate Scott, in landscapes and in personal friendships and encounters, remained strong in the early twentieth century and was a major factor in the biographically-orientated surge of new readings which marked the centenary of his death (1932).1 In this essay, I will argue for a new way of articulating the ‘place’ of Scott, by examining his still-neglected poem of 1813, Rokeby. When, in his introduction to this poem in the collected Poetical Works eventually published after his death, Scott looked back (in April 1830), at Rokeby, he wrote relatively little about the ideas and genesis of the poem and a great deal about the genesis of his ‘romance in stone’, Abbotsford, by which ‘the smallest of possible cottages was progressively expanded into a sort of dream of a mansion-house, whimsical in the exterior, but convenient within’.2 The connections between literature and architecture, this essay suggests, are of special interest and importance in Scott scholarship in the present year, 2013, which sees the re-opening and reinvention of Abbotsford House, and a new era of invention for Scott and his cultural legacy. [Author's introduction]

Item Type: Journal Article
Additional Information: Revised and expanded version of a lecture delivered to the Edinburgh Sir Walter Scott Club on 16 May 2013; published in the 'Bulletin' of the Club for May 2013.
Subjects: 800 Literature & rhetoric > 823 English fiction
School/Department: School of Arts and Humanities
Depositing User: Jonathan Lucas
Date Deposited: 27 Nov 2013 13:58
Last Modified: 27 Nov 2013 14:13


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