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Issue Details: First known date: 2017... 2017 Scott, India and Australia
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'From early in his life Walter Scott had strong personal relations with India but his contacts with Australia came much later in his life and were fewer in number. However, even though India was not, like New South Wales, a penal colony, and the British had been in India for centuries whereas they had colonized Australia within Scott's own life time, Scott's personal relations with India and Australia are remarkably similar in kind, though not in quantity. They take place in a well-defined context of imperial patronage which Scott used with skill and success to support a number of young Scots including, in the case of Australia, convicts. On the other hand Scott's imaginative involvement with the two countries differs considerably: India figures quite prominently in his fiction, but in all his published writing there is only one passage on Australia and it deals with quite different issues from those concerning India. This article considers a number of individual cases of Scott's patronage in India and Australia and examines the similar ways in which he was able to further the careers of his protégés. It also compares his writing about India and Australia and suggests that, though the themes in his writing about each country are quite different, in each case the dominant theme is one that was taken up by Scott in his early years.' (Publication abstract)

Publication Details of Only Known VersionEarliest 2 Known Versions of

  • Appears in:
    y separately published work icon The Yearbook of English Studies vol. 47 2017 12219657 2017 periodical issue

    'Just over half a century ago, Marxist critic Georg Lukács proposed that Walter Scott — writing more than a century earlier — was responsible for a new kind of historical narrative: readers, by identifying with everyday kinds of fictional characters, ‘could re-experience the social and human motives which led men [and women] to think, feel and act just as they did in historical reality’.1 That argument, according to which fiction does much more than remember cultural history through telling tales, because in addition it conveys a sense of thought and feeling, should at least have ensured Scott a renewed place in Romantic studies. If Wordsworth and Coleridge’s Lyrical Ballads synthesized older (even ancient) poetry of feeling with narrative storytelling to make something bold and experimental, Scott did something similar with historical fiction in the form of the long narrative poem and in prose. All three of these first-generation Romantics believed in the power of remembering, during which the imagination could re-create feelings from the past, to improve their own and a future world.2 Wordsworth added that such recreated feeling, based in intense personal experience, ‘does itself actually exist in the mind’. Scott’s achievement, according to Lukács, was to recover socially embedded feeling from beyond the boundaries of personal experience because located in the deeper past, but still in such a way that individuals could experience it in their minds. Through a figurative form of time travel, then, people could relate more sympathetically to one another and establish a better society, responding to understanding produced by feelings as well as by thought. Whether or not Scott is accepted as a mainstream Romantic, it would be difficult to imagine a writer more concerned about community. Furthermore, literature for him is the medium through which this process of remembering can go on in ways that look forward as well as to the past.' (Introduction)

    pg. 263-278
Last amended 10 Nov 2017 11:08:57
263-278 Scott, India and Australiasmall AustLit logo The Yearbook of English Studies