By Kirsten Stirling
Bella Caledonia: girl, country, textual content seems to be on the frequent 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 typical elements of the trope equivalent to the protecting mom kingdom and the girl as fertile land, that are evidently troublesome from a feminist viewpoint. yet darker implications, buried within the lengthy heritage of the determine, upward push to the skin in Scotland, corresponding to woman/nation as sufferer, and woman/nation as deformed or great. due to Scotland's strange prestige as a state in the higher entity of significant Britain, the literary figures into consideration listed below are by no means easily incarnations of a convinced and entire kingdom nurturing her warrior sons. quite, they replicate a extra smooth nervousness in regards to the suggestion of the kingdom, and include a afflicted and divided nationwide identification. Kirsten Stirling lines the improvement of the twentieth-century Scotland-as-woman determine via readings of poetry and fiction by way 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 resources for Bella Caledonia: Woman, Nation, Text. (SCROLL: Scottish Cultural Review of Language & Literature)
Such traditions and artefacts are created in order to bolster a sense of national identity as natural and immemorial, and they are invested with an imagined history much longer than their actual history, in order to create an illusion of historical continuity. It is essential for the validity of the woman-as-nation tradition that she has always been there. Dunn uses “Tam O’Shanter” to suggest that Scotia may be “anything you like”, from Tam’s wife Kate to the “nimble daemon Nannie”. Yet there is no suggestion in Burns’ poem that either figure is intended to be read as anything of the kind.
He claims to see the lady of MacLean’s Dàin do Eimhir (1943) as yet another representation of “the Scottish muse”, and draws on the poet O’Rathaille to apostrophise her: At last, at last, I see her again In our long-lifeless glen, Eidolon of our fallen race, Shining in full renascent grace, She whose hair is plaited Like the generations of men, And for whom my heart has waited Time out of ken. (MacDiarmid 1985: 657) 46 Chapter Two And yet this Scottish muse is represented by an Irish sovereignty goddess, rather as the “Vision of Scotland” in MacDiarmid’s poem of the same name “throws her headsquare off” to reveal “a mass / Of authentic flaxen hair […] Fine spun as newly-retted fibres / On a sunlit Irish bleaching field” (MacDiarmid 1985: 1096).
Yet part of the mythology of the woman-as-nation figure is that she has a long ancestry, just like the nation itself. )” which are part of the invented traditions of the nation (Kerrigan 1994a: 155; 1994b: 106; Hobsbawm and Ranger eds 1983: 1–14). Such traditions and artefacts are created in order to bolster a sense of national identity as natural and immemorial, and they are invested with an imagined history much longer than their actual history, in order to create an illusion of historical continuity.
Bella Caledonia: Woman, Nation, Text. (SCROLL: Scottish Cultural Review of Language & Literature) by Kirsten Stirling