Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS: http://ethos.bl.uk/OrderDetails.do?uin=uk.bl.ethos.650392
Title: The mutual gaze : the location(s) of Allan Ramsay and James Thomson within an emerging eighteenth-century British literature
Author: Buntin, Melanie Clare
ISNI:       0000 0004 5356 6737
Awarding Body: University of Glasgow
Current Institution: University of Glasgow
Date of Award: 2015
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Abstract:
The primary aim of this thesis is to bring Allan Ramsay (1684-1748) and James Thomson (1700-1748) into close critical contact for the first time and, in so doing, deconstruct the paradigm of opposition which has previously attached to these two contemporaries. The thesis posits that the separation of Ramsay and Thomson has been effected, retrospectively, by the twentieth-century Scottish critical tradition. The narrow, cultural essentialism exhibited by this body of scholarship has been effectively challenged in recent decades by the work of Gerard Carruthers, and revisionary ‘Four Nations’ approaches to late eighteenth-century British literature have done much to reinstate the importance of what were previously viewed as marginal or peripheral literary locations. Ramsay and Thomson, however, have never been fully united in literary and cultural terms. This thesis demonstrates that Ramsay and Thomson shared, not only a chronological context, but also a creative context informed by a reciprocal engagement with the work of the other and posits that the relationship between these two lowland Scottish writers can be conceived of in terms of a sustained mutual gaze. James Thomson remains entrenched within an English literary canon, despite the efforts of Mary Jane Scott to reclaim him for his native country. Conversely, Allan Ramsay remains firmly rooted in his native Scottish soil as the father of the vernacular revival and the epitome of literary and cultural resistance to a supposed English cultural hegemony in the wake of the 1707 Act of Union between Scotland and England. It is true that Ramsay’s and Thomson’s creative trajectories exemplify the literary choices and cultural paths available to a Scottish writer in the years immediately following the Union of Parliaments, but to set them in creative opposition as a result of these choices is a critical commonplace which this thesis challenges. Thomson spent the greater part of his literary career in and around London, whilst Ramsay remained in Edinburgh until his death; clearly the corpora of these two writers were conditioned by the locations of their production. Hence, the thematic structure of this thesis relies on the notion of location, both physical and literary. The first two chapters of this thesis, ‘Edinburgh’ and ‘London’, illustrate the urban contexts of both writers; in so doing they suggest that a mutual gaze was sustained, not only between Ramsay and Thomson, but that a similarly reciprocal relationship and network of influence existed between the literary and cultural centres of Edinburgh and London. The third chapter of this thesis, ‘Nation’, traces the fluid and nuanced literary responses to the concept of nation in a period when national and literary boundaries were in a state of flux. The fourth and final chapter of this thesis, ‘Land’, explores the shifting aesthetic landscape of the period and, with an emphasis on mode and genre, demonstrates Ramsay’s and Thomson’s original contribution to an emerging British poetic, elucidated by an extended analysis of their poetry of place.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID: uk.bl.ethos.650392  DOI: Not available
Keywords: PN0080 Criticism ; PN0441 Literary History ; PR English literature
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