Picturesque tours in Scotland : forming an idea of the British nation
The aim of this thesis is to elucidate the relationship between the picturesque and the emergence of British national identity. It explores Scottish travel writings from the 1770s to the early nineteenth century, in order to examine the ways in which tourists employ the discourse of the picturesque to imagine the British nation. The introduction sets out the questions this thesis attempts to address and defines the scope of discussion. It also outlines the general arguments surrounding the picturesque and specifies the way in which picturesque descriptions of Scotland during the period will be approached. Chapter One examines the writings of early tourists to Scotland such as Thomas Pennant, Samuel Johnson and William Gilpin. Scotland's association with Jacobitism prevents Pennant and Johnson from perceiving the region as an integral part of the British nation and also prevents them from appreciating the natural beauty of Scotland. This chapter shows how Gilpin assimilates Scotland's historical distinctiveness to his idea of picturesque beauty. Chapter Two surveys the description of landscape by tourists who are particularly interested in the economic improvement of Scotland. The 1770s and 1780s in Scotland are marked by various endeavours to assimilate the region to the system of capitalist economy. The main interest of this chapter lies in the correspondence between picturesque discourse and contemporary economic discourse, and its attempt to elucidate the ways in which the picturesque helps the development of commercial society to appear as a natural process. Chapter Three investigates the relationship between women's taste for the picturesque and their sense of citizenship. In particular, it focusses on Dorothy Wordsworth's Recollections of a Tour Made in Scotland. The Recollections demonstrates how Dorothy appropriates the picturesque to define her identity, and suggests that the equivocal quality of women's picturesque language in some ways corresponds to their ambivalent status in modem commercial society. Chapter Four concludes this inquiry into the picturesque's nation-projecting function by an examination of Walter Scott's idea of the picturesque. His first novel, Waverley, shows how he employs the picturesque to articulate his historical sense of Britishness. This chapter illustrates how Scott uses his literary fictions to propagate a picturesque image of the British nation among the general public.