Gaelic Scotland in the Colonial Imagination

Paper Text – $39.95

ISBN 978-0-8101-3405-8

E-book – $39.95

ISBN 978-0-8101-3404-1

Cloth Text – $99.95

ISBN 978-0-8101-3403-4
Publication Date
December 2016
Page Count
344 pages
Trim Size
6 x 9

Gaelic Scotland in the Colonial Imagination

Anglophone Writing from 1600 to 1900
Silke Stroh

Can Scotland be considered an English colony? Is its experience and literature comparable to that of overseas postcolonial countries? Or are such comparisons no more than patriotic victimology to mask Scottish complicity in the British Empire and justify nationalism? These questions have been heatedly debated in recent years, especially in the run-up to the 2014 referendum on independence, and remain topical amid continuing campaigns for more autonomy and calls for a post-Brexit “indyref2.” Gaelic Scotland in the Colonial Imagination offers a general introduction to the emerging field of postcolonial Scottish studies, assessing both its potential and limitations in order to promote further interdisciplinary dialogue. Accessible to readers from various backgrounds, the book combines overviews of theoretical, social, and cultural contexts with detailed case studies of literary and nonliterary texts. The main focus is on internal divisions between the anglophone Lowlands and traditionally Gaelic Highlands, which also play a crucial role in Scottish–English relations. Silke Stroh shows how the image of Scotland’s Gaelic margins changed under the influence of two simultaneous developments: the emergence of the modern nation-state and the rise of overseas colonialism.
About the Author

SILKE STROH is an assistant professor of English, postcolonial, and media studies at the University of Muenster, Germany.

“Stroh engages with the contested question of whether postcolonial theory can be fruitfully applied to Scottish literary expressions and cultural encounters by outlining the fundamental concepts and applying them to the most fundamental fault-line in Scottish history, that between the Lowlands and Highlands. In revisiting familiar texts, such as Martin Martin’s surveys of the Western Isles and Walter Scott’s Waverley, and introducing ones less familiar today, she demonstrates convincingly and comprehensibly that the hallmarks of colonial discourse—Othering, civilizing missions, internalized stigmatization, and so on—abound in the ways in which anglophone authors represented their Gaelic subjects.” —Michael Newton, author of Warriors of the Word and Seanchaidh na Coille / Memory-Keeper of the Forest

“Stroh’s compelling book is an original intervention in the study of Scottish literature; more importantly, it complements and is in dialogue with a number of other contemporary works by major critics and literary historians in Ireland and Scotland. This is one of the most fascinating, multi-faceted and authoritative explorations of a neglected period (1600-1900) I know." —Alan Riach, author of Representing Scotland in Literature, Popular Culture and Iconography: The Masks of the Modern Nation

"Stroh has not only delivered an important postcolonial reading of cultural history but has also provided, through her careful study of a selection of texts, a blueprint to assist scholars of Gaelic culture and literature in taking this theory forward and employing it successfully in varied contexts. Furthermore, Stroh's research has ensured that Gaelic/Scottish postcolonial studies has a deserved place in international postcolonial dialogues." —Scottish Literary Review 

"Although postcolonial theories and paradigms have started to make a large impact on Scottish studies over the last decade or so, Stroh's work retains a pioneering freshness . . . The clarity and simplicity with which Stroh has began to unlock these issues will be of the utmost use to scholars new to either postcolonial or Scottish studies, and even readers who are familiar with the fields will welcome the clear way in which this material has been approached and developed." —Thomas Black, Northern Scotland