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ENGL472 Special Topic: Imagining Scotland

Scotland had been called 'the world's best hypothetical nation' (Andrew O'Hagan) and a place where myth is 'never driven out by reality, or by reason, but lingers on until another myth has been discovered, or elaborated, to replace it' (Hugh Trevor-Roper). This paper explores the role of writers - from Robert Burns to Ian Rankin - in shaping the 'imagined community' of Scotland.

Paper title Special Topic: Imagining Scotland
Paper code ENGL472
Subject English
EFTS 0.1667
Points 20 points
Teaching period Not offered in 2019, expected to be offered in 2020
Domestic Tuition Fees (NZD) $1,120.06
International Tuition Fees (NZD) $4,439.89

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72 points from ENGL 311-368, EURO 302
Teaching staff
Convenor: Professor Liam McIIvanney
Paper Structure
In the first semester, the paper will focus on three major modern writers - Robert Burns, Walter Scott and Robert Louis Stevenson.

In the second semester, the paper will explore the 'Scottish Renaissance' of the early twentieth century before turning to the new modes of urban writing, working-class writing and women's writing that have emerged in the postwar period.

Topics to be discussed will include: the myth of the Highlands; historical fiction; the Scottish adventure novel; the 'Scottish Renaissance'; writing the city; postcolonial Scotland; 'Tartan Noir'; literature and empire.
Teaching Arrangements
A 2-hour weekly seminar.
To be advised when paper next offered.
The set texts will be supplemented by key critical and theoretical essays, and our readings will be contextualised with reference to historiography in the form of T.M. Devine's The Scottish Nation, 1700-2007.
Graduate Attributes Emphasised
Interdisciplinary perspective, Lifelong learning, Scholarship, Communication, Critical thinking, Cultural understanding, Information literacy, Research.
View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
Learning Outcomes

By the end of the paper students should have a sound knowledge of the role of literature in shaping the 'imagined community' of Scotland, and an understanding of the key debates around cultural identity in post-Union Scotland.

They should:

  • Understand the role of literature in the construction of national identity.
  • Be able to interpret works of Scottish literature in relation to their literary and historical contexts.
  • Be able to articulate their views cogently both in discussion and writing.

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Not offered in 2019, expected to be offered in 2020

Teaching method
This paper is taught On Campus
Learning management system