Turner’s romantic view of Edinburgh from Gallon Hill (1820), the Castle looming mistily in the distance across a sprawling crowd of buildings, streets, and picnickers, is offset by the elysian decorum of an imaginary view of Gallon Hill with the projected National Monument not just an acropolis but a shining city, framed by a pastoral family vignette. The controversial choice of the Parthenon as a model for Edinburgh’s National Monument sparked competing ideas of ‘nation’; whereas the younger Archibald Alison found in its pure classical beauty an Thomas Sabo Bracelets ideal for Scottish aspiration precisely because, in his view, it had no national associations, in the scathing words of the Blackrvooifs wits: ‘We are Scotsmen, not Greeks. We want no Parthenon’.
The representation of the Scottish novelists themselves was equally fraught. Scott secured his authority as an ‘interpreter and proprietor’ of the nation by utilising systems of patronage and commercial publishing, and drawing on his relationship with the history of the land as a landowner. But curiously, at the centre of Scott’s Shadow, we find ‘Hogg’s Body’ (the title of chapter 6) a brilliant investigation of the multiple appropriations of Hogg’s identity (‘a literary identity that was never solely his’ p. 153). These include the ‘boozing buffoon’ reported by John Gibson Lockhart, the bestial and vigorous Ettrick Shepherd of John Wilson’s Nodes Ambrosianae, and Hogg’s configurations of himself during his extraordinary friendship with ‘the great potentate’ Scott himself. Duncan crucially restores Hogg’s agency in the manipulation of Thomas Sabo Jewellery his identity, and shows Hogg contending with Scott and Lockhart for the right to represent Scott and his ancestors, yet his rich reading of the Confessions ultimately buries Hogg in the suicide’s grave. The closing chapter documents the disintegration of the era of Scottish Romanticism and the emergence of ‘A New Spirit of the Age’ in Carlyle’s Sartor Resartus.
While this book showcases Duncan’s impressive originality of thought and assured command of his material, it also demands a high level of concentration from readers. The rigorous research, bold critical thinking and intensive analysis in each chapter reward careful reading. Undergraduates will appreciate being directed to specific parts of the book, but other readers will want to read it thoroughly, certainly revisiting it many times in future.