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Legitimate Histories : Scott, Gothic, and the Authorities of Fiction - Fiona Robertson

Legitimate Histories

Scott, Gothic, and the Authorities of Fiction

Hardcover Published: 7th April 1994
ISBN: 9780198112242
Number Of Pages: 336

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Legitimate Histories is an original and wideranging reading of Walter Scott's Waverley Novels in the context of eighteenth and nineteenth-century Gothic.
Bringing together two types of historical fiction which have traditionally been kept apart in surveys of the Romantic period, Fiona Robertson argues that it is impossible to judge the effectiveness of Scott's narratorial strategies if one continues to filter out the problems generic, cultural, and structural - which generated them. She draws attention to shared (and contested) historical and political preoccupations, to techniques of narrative deferral and fantasies of origin and originality, and to the crises of authority and authenticity which are concealed (and flaunted) by the masterful voice of the 'Author of Waverley'. She also focuses on the critical traditions by which Scott's fissured, questioning, and problematic novels have been stabilized for increasingly disenchanted generations of readers. Arguing for a new way of approaching Scott, the book takes in the whole range of Waverley Novels, including analyses of such neglected works as The Fortunes of Nigel, Peveril of the Peak, Woodstock, and Anne of Geierstein, as well as the more familiar Rob Roy, The Heart of Midlothian, and Redgauntlet.
Offering fresh insight into the variety and complexity of Scott's novels, and into the traditions of criticism which have so often obscured them, Legitimate Histories makes an important contribution to the study of Romanticism and the novel, and to current theoretical debates concerning historical fiction and historiographic authority.

Industry Reviews

'... one of the most substantial and stimulating discussions of Scott in recent years; A sophisticated and enjoyable book.' The Editorial Miscellany `intelligent and wide-ranging book.' Eighteenth Century Fiction `There is a comprehensive and valuable account of the gothic corpus...Dr Robertson has left no stone unturned which has any relevance for her subject. The book is a detailed widely researched study by an academic for academics and as such will appeal to a limited few but it is in its own way a substantial contribution to the more arcane aspects of Scott scholarship.' Notes and Queries `This new study increases our understanding of Scott's ambiguous relations in the establishing of a literary tradition, while adding attentive and insightful readings of the narrative strategies of a broad range of his novels. it also widens our knowledge of Gothic textuality in general...a valuable model to replace the long-outdated idea of Scott's double inclination towards a romantic past and a progressive future...The book is admirably researched and impeccably well-documented...also impressive in its detailed frame of reference...will be required reading for anyone concerned with the literature of the perios, and Legitimate Histories further advances the more particular case of Scott as a write whose construction of authorial and textual concerns are subtle, complex, and far-reaching.' Studies in Hogg and his World `Excellent study of Scott's novels.' Times Literary Supplement. `a major book on the Waverly Novels and on the history of the novel in the early nineteenth century...Robertson's thesis is not perhaps exceptional in the context of recent and current re-evaluations of its key elements...but the way she has conceptualised it makes for fascinating reading. Nor is this the only admirable quality of the book. Legitimate Histories is distinguished by a range and depth of scholarship, a richness of contextualization, an inventive and judicious analysis of texts, and - not least - a prose style that is always felicitious and frequently delightful...an impressive achievement.' Wordsworth Circle 25/4 `what we have here is a capacious revaluation of Scott and in particular of his `strain of conscious literariness', wide-ranging in its implications and written with verve and an elegant accuracy which gave me, for one, great pleasure...where she is talking first about the Magnum Opus introduction to Woodstock, amd then about the Magnum Opus frame material generally, will perhaps serve to demostrate the complexity and perceptiveness of her approach' Romanticism 1.2 `Fiona Robertson shows convincingly that the influence of the Gothic is much more deep-seated and pervading than has hitherto been thought, and her detailed study is ultimately an important revaluation of Scott's achievement. Robertson's truly impressive knowledge of her subject enables her to approach Scott with the same literary backround and expectations that his original readers had ... the resulting slant on Scott is both surprising and enlightening ... this is a fine book ... We can all be thankful to Fiona Robertson for a job well done.' Jerome Mitchell, University of Georgia, Studies in Scottish Literature, Volume XXIX

A Note on Texts
Introductionp. 1
The Healthy Text: Scott, the Monsters, and the Criticsp. 21
The New-Discovered Continentp. 27
The Titanic Incompetentp. 41
An Initiated Ghost-Seerp. 51
Gothic: The Passages That Lead to Nothingp. 68
The Delayed and the Unutterable: Evasiveness in Gothic Structure and Stylep. 72
Legitimate History and the Fantasy of Originsp. 85
'Sheltered Under the Cannon': The Anxieties of Not Being Influencedp. 93
The Implicated Reader in the Drama of Terrorp. 101
Fictions of Authenticity: The Frame Narratives and Notes of the Waverley Novelsp. 117
Scott's First Editions: The Author in Disguisep. 123
Notes and the Magnum Opus: 'The Mask of Veracity'p. 142
Secrecy, Silence, and Anxiety: Gothic Narratology and the Waverley Novelsp. 161
The Pirate: 'The Interest of a Riddle'p. 169
Rob Roy: 'The Secrets of this Fearful Prison House'p. 177
Peveril of the Peak: 'Dimly Seen by Twilight'p. 188
Phantoms of Revolution: Five Case-Studies of Literary Convention and Social Analysisp. 196
The Dead Past and a Misbegotten Present: The Antiquaryp. 197
An Apostate Spirit Incarnate: The Heart of Midlothianp. 205
Re-Plotting Nationalist Rebellion: The Bride of Lammermoor and The Milesian Chiefp. 214
Phantoms of Revolution: The Fortunes of Nigelp. 225
Ritual and Trial: The House of Aspen and Anne of Geiersteinp. 233
'Ripping Up Auld Stories': Exhumation and the Gothic Imagination in Redgauntletp. 246
Conclusion. Labyrinth, Origin, and the Gothic House of Mystery: Woodstockp. 265
Bibliographyp. 274
Indexp. 313
Table of Contents provided by Blackwell. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780198112242
ISBN-10: 0198112246
Series: Oxford English Monographs
Audience: Professional
Format: Hardcover
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 336
Published: 7th April 1994
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 22.23 x 14.61  x 2.54
Weight (kg): 0.54