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Modes of Marginality: Scottish Literature and the Uses of Postcolonial Theory

Modes of Marginality: Scottish Literature and the Uses of Postcolonial Theory parent in many of the attempts to account for stylistic similarities between Scottish and so-called postcolonial texts, whereby critics offer material, rather than literary explanations, for this resemblance. Most commonly, the adoption of postcolonial theory to analyze Scottish texts sees critics explain Scottish literature’s formal properties in terms of a history of English colonization of Scotland (often flagged as a precursor to British imperialism). The designation of Scotland as an English colony is highly controversial and displays a dazzling confusion of textual and social forms of exclusion. This essay attempts to explain why this formula has become so prevalent in recent years and suggests three main causes: first, changes to the Scottish economy and to British political structures, which made such an explanation more palatable to Scots than it was earlier in the twentieth century; second, developments in the economy of the university as an institution which prioritized academic publication and made the marketability of research a more pressing concern; and finally, a structural nationalism in the concept of Scottish literature that conceives the relationship between Scottish and English culture in antagonistic terms, and which identifies liberationist nationalism as quintessentially postcolonial. This sense of postcolonialism derives from a http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East Duke University Press

Modes of Marginality: Scottish Literature and the Uses of Postcolonial Theory

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Publisher
Duke University Press
Copyright
Copyright 2003 by Duke University Press
ISSN
1089-201X
eISSN
1548-226X
DOI
10.1215/1089201X-23-1-2-41
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

parent in many of the attempts to account for stylistic similarities between Scottish and so-called postcolonial texts, whereby critics offer material, rather than literary explanations, for this resemblance. Most commonly, the adoption of postcolonial theory to analyze Scottish texts sees critics explain Scottish literature’s formal properties in terms of a history of English colonization of Scotland (often flagged as a precursor to British imperialism). The designation of Scotland as an English colony is highly controversial and displays a dazzling confusion of textual and social forms of exclusion. This essay attempts to explain why this formula has become so prevalent in recent years and suggests three main causes: first, changes to the Scottish economy and to British political structures, which made such an explanation more palatable to Scots than it was earlier in the twentieth century; second, developments in the economy of the university as an institution which prioritized academic publication and made the marketability of research a more pressing concern; and finally, a structural nationalism in the concept of Scottish literature that conceives the relationship between Scottish and English culture in antagonistic terms, and which identifies liberationist nationalism as quintessentially postcolonial. This sense of postcolonialism derives from a

Journal

Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle EastDuke University Press

Published: Jan 1, 2003

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