Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
First Committee Member
Number of Pages
This dissertation focuses on several of Sir Walter Scott's historical novels that deal with the question of the 1707 Act of Union that united Scotland with England. The following novels were studied: Old Mortality, The Bride of Lammermoor, The Heart of Mid-Lothian, Waverley, Redgauntlet, and The Antiquarian. The novels were considered for this dissertation in their chronological order within historical timelines and not according to their publication dates; In all of the novels it is evident that Scott was a strong supporter of the Union and the commercial empowerment that it offered to Scotland; for him the Union represented moderation in government and liberalism in religion. All of the novels presented in this thesis have as their heroes or heroines those who espouse moderation in interpreting the main political and religious issues of their day. The novels deal with a traditional society vexed by religious and political fanaticism. It is obvious from the novels that Scott believed very much in the Enlightenment concepts of moderation and toleration in all things. It is also obvious that he strongly believed in the ideal of social and economic progress: that history was the study of the triumph of progress over barbarism; Scott has often been considered as an early contributor to the Romantic Movement, but his political and social ideals are in contradiction to this tradition. The Romantics tended to reject the labored moderation that was the hallmark of the Enlightenment. Romanticism embraced an exhalation of individual passions; it also tended, in its more Gothic representations, to idealize the past and to see the present as lacking a more natural humanism that was closer to the soil. Scott, on the other hand, is very studied in his rejection of passion as a motivation in human development. For Scott it is not unbridled passion that should inspire a hero to be emulated. Scott instead upheld the hero of moderation; the proper, ideal gentleman that was so much a part of the 18th century concept of political improvement, progress, and liberality who points to the future. This is Scott's ideal. In truth, Scott considered the romantic hero who is motivated by passions to be dangerous; In the novels that deal with Scottish history and the Union, those who embrace passion are also motivated mostly by hatred and bigotry; it is the man of moderation who prospers. Romanticism also had a love for the middle-ages, both in art, architecture, as well a political theory. Scott will have none of it; he fully embraces the modern world and the progress of individual freedom under the constitutional monarchy that replaced royal absolutism. For Scott moderation in religion and politics, coupled with economic progress, are the true gifts of the 1707 Act of Union; In all of the novels studied those who most closely resemble the romantic concept of hero or heroine either dies, or retires to a monastic enclosure. They are perceived as sterile and old fashioned. Their ideas of romantic glory are simply antiquated. It is the upholders of constitutional government and commercial interests who survive and prosper; those who are willing and able to enter into the modern world. For Scott, his native land needed to be lead by a progressive leadership that had escaped the snare of the historical forces of fanaticism, both religious and political. It was religious and political passions that had lead Scotland into years of civil wars and rebellion.
Act Of Union; England; Fiction; Jacobite; Jacobite Scotland; Scott; Scott, Sir Walter
British literature; English literature--Irish authors; Irish literature
University of Nevada, Las Vegas
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Griffith, Dale K, "Scott's fiction and the Union of 1707" (2007). UNLV Retrospective Theses & Dissertations. 2740.