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Intending Scotland

Intending Scotland: Explorations in Scottish Culture since the Enlightenment

Cairns Craig
Copyright Date: 2009
Pages: 288
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  • Book Info
    Intending Scotland
    Book Description:

    A major reconsideration of our understanding of the development of Scottish culture from the Enlightenment to the present day.

    eISBN: 978-0-7486-7933-1
    Subjects: Anthropology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-v)
  3. Preface
    (pp. vi-viii)
  4. Introduction
    (pp. 1-12)

    The phenomenon of the Scottish Enlightenment has become the focus of such a vast scholarly industry, as well as being extolled as a political and cultural icon in Scotland and in North America, that it is easy to lose sight of just how recently it was identified as a specific historical occurrence. As Charles Withers and Paul Wood pointedly remind us in Science and Medicine in the Scottish Enlightenment, the first book-length study on the Scottish Enlightenment was only published in 1976¹ and the term only came into general use in the previous decade. Indeed, we can probably date the...

  5. 1 In Tending Scotland
    (pp. 13-76)

    In the autumn of 1966, Ian Hamilton Finlay and his wife Sue took over an abandoned croft in the Southern uplands of Scotland. For Finlay, a poet, short-story writer and editor, best known for his poems in Glasgow dialect, Glasgow Beasts, an a Burd (1961), and for the avant garde internationalism promoted by his journal Poor. Old. Tired. Horse., the setting seemed an unlikely one. The croft was called Stonypath, a name all too appropriate to its environment, set as it was in a landscape of rough pasture that had been ravaged by two hundred years of grazing sheep. The...

  6. 2 When Was the Scottish Enlightenment?
    (pp. 77-144)

    In the ‘Introduction’ to their Origins and Nature of the Scottish Enlightenment, published in 1982, R. H. Campbell and Andrew Skinner note that ‘interest in the Scottish Enlightenment is comparatively recent’,¹ and they date the inauguration of that interest to W. C. Lehmann’s Adam Ferguson and Modern Sociology, published in 1930, and to Gladys Bryson’s Man and Society: The Scottish Enquiry of the Eighteenth Century, which appeared in 1945. The interest of both these writers was in establishing that ‘social scientists of the twentieth century may properly regard them [the Scottish Enlightenment thinkers] as forerunners in the effort in which...

  7. 3 Beyond Reason: Hume, Seth, Macmurray and Scotland’s Postmodernity
    (pp. 145-178)

    At the Walter Scott conference in Oregon in 1999, Jerome McGann pronounced Scott to be the first postmodernist,¹ a judgment based on Scott’s deployment of various metafictional techniques and on his ironic combination of contradictory genres. The proposal was less surprising (to some, at any rate) than it might have been, given how regularly another Scottish novel of the early nineteenth century – James Hogg’s Confessions of a Justified Sinner – is cited as prophetic of postmodernism in its use of multiple and conflicting narratives. Taken together, the implications of these prescient texts might suggest that there is something inherently postmodern about...

  8. 4 Intended Communities: MacIver, Macmurray and the Scottish Idealists
    (pp. 179-202)

    Ian Hamilton Finlay’s garden at Little Sparta is not only devoted to the memory of earlier gardens, but to the recollection of the Second World War: amidst the greenery lurk aircraft carriers, warships, panzer tanks, and memorials of the battle of Midway. Like many Scottish artists of his generation, Finlay’s work is deeply marked by his experiences during the War, in which he served for three and a half years with the Royal Army Signals Corps. Betula Pendula – the Latin name for Scotland’s silver birch tree – is the inscription beneath a picture of the raised gun of a tank disguised...

  9. 5 Telephonic Scotland: Periphery, Hybridity, Diaspora
    (pp. 203-244)

    In 1858 the first attempt to lay a telegraph cable between Europe and North America ended in disaster: after an initial transfer of some 700 messages, the signals faded, became unintelligible and ended. William Thomson, Professor of Natural Philosophy at the University of Glasgow, had been an adviser to the project but his advice had been ignored by the managing engineer, Wildman Whitehouse, who did not have Thomson’s expertise in the theoretical aspects of the transmission of electronic currents. After a parliamentary investigation into the failure, Thomson was put in charge of a second attempt in 1865 and eventually succeeded...

  10. 6 Identifying Another Other
    (pp. 245-270)

    In Strangers, Gods and Monsters (2003),¹ Richard Kearney set out on an ambitious exploration and critique of the role of the ‘Other’ in Western thought, and especially as it has developed in modern ‘Continental’ theory. Though it is hardly crucial to the overall scope of his argument, England and Ireland are offered as antitheses which represent a defining instance of the process of ‘othering’:

    Most Western discourses of identity . . . are predicated upon some unconscious projection of an Other who is not ‘us’. At the collective level of politics, this assumes the guise of an elect ‘nation’ or...

  11. Afterword
    (pp. 271-272)

    In the 1980s, when Hamilton Finlay’s garden was coming to maturity, another Scottish poet created an institution aimed at regaining poetry’s relationship with the natural world. The International Institute of Geopoetics in Paris was launched in 1989 by Glasgow-born Kenneth White, then Professor of Twentieth-Century Poetics at the Sorbonne. Geopoetics was a response to the fact that ‘it was becoming more and more obvious that the earth (the biosphere) was in danger and that ways, both deep and efficient, would have to be worked out in order to protect it’, and that what was required was a return to ‘the...

  12. Index
    (pp. 273-280)