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Title: History, hagiography, and fakestory: representations of the Scottish Covenanters in non-fictional and fictional texts from 1638 to 1835
Author(s): Currie, Janette
Issue Date: 1999
Publisher: University of Stirling
Abstract: This study is an examination of the differing and competing representations of the Scottish Covenanters that emerged from the signing of the National Covenant in 1638 to the publication in 1835 of The Tales of the Wars ofMontrose, by James Hogg. The disserttion researches representations of the Scottish Covenanters in thee centuies offictional and non-fictional texts, for example, seventeenth-centu sermons, eighteenth-centu chapbooks, and nineteenth-centu Scottish literatue, and it notes and examines the discordance in the various modes of literar discourse. The disserttion is aranged chronologically as the most logical method of tracing and demonstrating the discordance. An historical context is provided to each chapter and also within each chapter as necessar to explain and to situate the discourses under scrutiny within their contemporar climate. Chapter One examines representations of the Scottish Covenanters from the first signing of the National Covenant in 1638 to their disappearance from Scottish mainstream thing with the 'Glorious Revolution' in 1688-9. The chapter begins by examining the document known as the National Covenant and reveals how radically different it was from previous Scottish bonds of allance. The early Covenanters or 'Politick Chrstians' who attempted to promote and to live up to the spirtual and secular aims of the National Covenant were concerned to present a tre image of what it was to be a Covenanter. The Royalists and anti-Covenanters counteracted by detracting the movement though irony which revealed the inconsistencies of Covenanting priciples. The paper war of words included contemporar news sheets, privately circulated letters, broadsides and ballads. After 1660, when Episcopacy was reintroduced into Scotland literar representations of the Scottish Covenanters were, on the whole, denigratory as the Scottish Privy Council, with the full support of the English governent sought to prevent a repeat of the events of 1638. The satirical work of George Hickes is revealed as a crucial factor in the demise of the popularty of Covenanting. As the Covenanting movement became defensive rather than offensive the Covenanters counteracted with books and pamphlets such as Naphtali, that included declarations and 'last testimonies' of those convicted for treason after the Pentland Uprising in 1666. This chapter closely examines one of the published Covenanting sermons and reveals that it is inauthentic propagandist literatue. The representation of Scottish Covenanters in the crucial post-Bothwell/opish plotÆxclusion Crisis altered significantly. A comparison of the draft manifesto published by Royal Warant under the title, 'The Fanaticks New-Covenant', with a later document published by the 'United Societies' reveals that there were moderate Presbyterians after Bothwell Bridge who proposed upholding the Covenants. Their 'manifesto' was published alongside of the more violently rhetorical 'Sanquhair Declaration', which led to them being wrongly associated with the Cameronians. The final representation to be examined in this period is of the Cameronian historian, Alexander Shields. He portayed the Covenanters of the 1680s in apocalyptic tropes as a 'suffering remnant' in exile within their own countr. Chapter Two examines the discordant discourses of the eighteenth centu. The 'Revolution Settlement' of 1688-9 re-instated Presbytery and as the tables were tued, so the Episcopalian satirsts denigrated the Presbyterians by implying that all Covenanters were of a similar violent propensity as the Cameronians had theatened. The move towards Enlightenment away from the enthusiastic raptue of the seventeenth centu can be traced though these satircal representations which concentrated an accusation that Presbyterian preaching was ineffective and ridiculous. As Covenanting fell out of favour historians such as Robert Wodrow, and also the 'United Societies' as the Cameronians became known tued to apologia. Their accounts portayed the Covenanting movement of the later seventeenth-centu as entirely defensive. This was disputed by satirsts such as Pitcaire and Swift, and Enlightened historians such as David Hume. Towards the end of the eighteenth centu Reformed Presbyterians, as the Cameronians were now called, published major works which promoted positive images of the Covenanters. John Howie's Biographia Scoticana significantly altered the perspective of Covenanting. He depicted Covenanting as the natul successor of the Reformation in his hagiogrphical collection which begins with the mardom of Walter Mil in 1550. Overall, this chapter examines the way that representations of the Scottish Covenanters altered in the changing political, religious and intellectual climate of the eighteenth centu. Chapter Thee examines the literar representation of the Scottish Covenanters in the early nineteenth centu to 1807. Using Gerard Genett's Paratexts as a model the chapter examines the interplay between the text and the anotation in John Leyden's poetr and in his editing of John Wilson's poem entitled, Clyde, in the anotation and introductory material that Scott appended to five Covenanting ballads in the third volume of The Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border, in the anotation to James Grahame's long reflective poem entitled, The Sabbath, and finally, to the imitation ballad entitled, 'Mess John' in James Hogg's collection of 'traditional' material entitled, The Mountain Bard. The chapter situates the subjective editing practices of Scott into the contemporar political climate of a heightened revolutionar atmosphere engendered by the threat of war between the United Kingdom, and France and Spain. This chapter offers a revision of the poet, James Grahame. A close reading of The Sabbath, that is taen in context with his earlier suppressed anti-clerical and anti-Enlightenment poetry reveals that it is an anti-Establishmentaan, as opposed to purely reflective poem. Finally, in this chapter the notion of James Hogg as Scott imitator is rejected. A close reading of his ballad, 'Mess John' indicates his move from imitator to independent author. Overall, this chapter reveals that Scott revised representations of the Scottish Covenanters though an appropriation of eighteenth-centu pseudo-Covenanting and anti-Covenanting works. Chapter Four is a study ofScott's series of novels entitled, Tales of My Landlord that he published between 1816 and 1819. The chapter begins with a close examination ofScott's satirical representation of Reformed Presbyterians and dissenters in his first novel entitled, Waverley. After establishing Scott's anti-Covenanting tropes the chapter then proceeds to an examination of the novels from the series which constituted his most intensively derogatory treatment of Covenanters and their descendats. Takg Par's study of Don Quixote as an exemplar the chapter discovers the extent of Scott' s anti-Covenanting satire. As in the previous two chapters the contemporar political and religious climate is also discussed. Chapter Five examines the literar response to Scott's anti-Covenanting satire, and to the subjective editing practices of Charles Kirkpatrck Share. It suggests that the battle over the documenta evidence of Covenanting material signified the battle for authorial control that became the central concerns ofHogg and GaIt. The prose fictions of James Hogg, John Galt, Allan Cuningham and John Wilson are compared and contrasted. This reveals that Hogg had developed an entirely new paradigm of positively representing the Covenanters by acknowledging their heroism and fortitude while rejecting their violence and wild rhetoric. John GaIt's anti-romantic novel Ringan vu Gilhaize offered an inovative interpretation of historical reconstrction that appears to have been deliberately aimed at counterig Scott. A study of some of the Covenanting aricles in Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine reveals that the anti-Covenanting strin had evolved by the 1820s into a hagiography that sought to contain and suppress the popular image of the Covenanters as heroic rebels. This was vigorously opposed by James Hogg. The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justifed Sinner is compared with the late seventeenth-centu pamphlet, Scotch Presbyterian Eloquence Display 'd, and the similarities are noted. This inter-textality intensifies Hogg's satire and adds to the complexity of his overall questioning of those who would revise Scottish history. An examination ofHogg's projected 'Cameronian Series' reveals that his quasi-hagiographical Cameronian prose fiction and balladr was a serious attempt to understad the Cameronian mentality in the same way as GaIt's novel had. The chapter concludes by examining Hogg's last published novel, The Tales of the Wars of Montrose. Here, through the different narators and editors Hogg continued to unsettle the 'Toryfication' of Scottish Covenanting historiography. Overall, this final chapter suggests that Hogg rather than Scott devised a revision of the representations of the Scottish Covenanters. Each chapter is ilustrated with an interesting example of contempora materiaL. The Appendix comprises a xerox of the original 'Fanaticks New-Covenant' (1680).
Type: Thesis or Dissertation
Affiliation: School of Arts and Humanities
Law and Philosophy

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