Writing and Orality: Nationality, Culture, and Nineteenth-Century Scottish Fiction

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This book explores the concepts of nationality and culture in the context of nineteenth-century Scottish fiction, through the writing of Walter Scott, James Hogg, R. L. Stevenson, and Margaret Oliphant. It describes the relationship between speech writing as a foundation of the literary construction of a particular national identity, exploring how orality and literacy are figured in nineteenth-century preoccupations with the definition of 'culture'. It further examines the importance of romance revival in the ascendancy of the novel and the development of that genre across a century which saw the novel stripped of its female associations and accorded a masculine authority, touching on the sexualization of language in the discourse between women's narrative (oral) and men's narrative (written). The books importance for literary studies lies in the investigation of some of the consequences of deconstruction. It explores how the speech/writing opposition is open to the influence of social and material forces. Focusing on the writing of Scott, Hogg, Stevenson, and Oliphant, it looks at the conflicts in narratological experiments in Scottish writing, constructions of class and gender, the effects of popular literacy and the material condition of books as artefacts and commodities. This book is the first to offer a broad picture of the interaction of Scottish fiction and modern theoretical thinking, taking its roots from a combination of deconstruction, narrative theory, the history of orality, linguistics and psychoanalysis.