Download Bella Caledonia: Woman, Nation, Text. (SCROLL: Scottish by Kirsten Stirling PDF

By Kirsten Stirling

Bella Caledonia: lady, kingdom, textual content appears on the common culture of utilizing a feminine determine to symbolize the kingdom, targeting twentieth-century Scottish literature. The woman-as-nation determine emerged in Scotland within the 20th century, yet as a literary determine instead of an institutional icon like Britannia or France's Marianne. Scottish writers utilize well-known features of the trope resembling the protecting mom state and the girl as fertile land, that are evidently tricky from a feminist viewpoint. yet darker implications, buried within the lengthy historical past of the determine, upward thrust to the skin in Scotland, akin to woman/nation as sufferer, and woman/nation as deformed or tremendous. because of Scotland's strange prestige as a kingdom in the higher entity of significant Britain, the literary figures into account listed here are by no means easily incarnations of a convinced and whole kingdom nurturing her warrior sons. particularly, they mirror a extra sleek anxiousness concerning the suggestion of the state, and embrace a bothered and divided nationwide id. Kirsten Stirling lines the improvement of the twentieth-century Scotland-as-woman determine via readings of poetry and fiction by means of female and male writers together with Hugh MacDiarmid, Naomi Mitchison, Neil Gunn, Lewis Grassic Gibbon, Willa Muir, Alasdair grey, A.L. Kennedy, Ellen Galford and Janice Galloway.

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Additional info for Bella Caledonia: Woman, Nation, Text. (SCROLL: Scottish Cultural Review of Language & Literature)

Example text

1550] 1979: 56). Dame Scotia wears a mantle divided into three parts, engraved and embroidered with images showing weapons and war; books, science and charitable acts; and cattle and crops. Her mantle, however, is ragged and torn, and the images faded and difficult to read (54–56). Scotia is described in the poem as being “of excellent extraction and of ancient genealogy”, in keeping with the tradition of an immemorial ancestry, but her pedigree may in fact be not so much Scottish as European, as Woman as Nation 31 she has been identified as “modelled on [Alain] Chartier’s ‘France’ who in turn is related to Boethius’ ‘Philosophy’” (Wedderburn 1979: xxxiii).

As Christopher Whyte points out, “the history of the Scottish Renaissance Movement was presented […] with women as helpmates offering succour and support from the wings” (Whyte 1995a: 28). MacDiarmid himself identified Cruickshank, in this domestic and supportive role, along with his wife Valda Trevlyn, as a manifestation of “the Scottish muse” (MacDiarmid [1943] 1972: 400–1). The ease with which MacDiarmid was able to locate his female friends in this mythical role, alongside his favourite literary muses such as Audh or Brigit, demonstrates how the gendered model of the Scottish Renaissance was not simply textual but spilled out into the gender The Female Figure in the Scottish Renaissance 55 roles of the writers of the time.

The pub in question may be Milne’s Bar in Edinburgh, as the history and mythology of the Scottish Renaissance identify it as the scene of many poetry- and whisky-fuelled evenings. The maleness of the assembled company is inescapable, and in it we may read the maleness of the Scottish literary community. There are no women in the foreground of the picture, but blurred and indistinct female figures may be distinguished, appropriately enough, on its margins. A female figure with long hair and bare arms slumps, her head propped up on her hand, at a table to the left of the group.

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