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Title: Alliance and Defiance in Scottish and American Outlaw-Hero Ballads
Author(s): Gilbert, Suzanne
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Editor(s): Carruthers, G
Goldie, D
Renfrew, A
Citation: Gilbert S (2012) Alliance and Defiance in Scottish and American Outlaw-Hero Ballads. In: Carruthers G, Goldie D & Renfrew A (eds.) Scotland and the 19th-Century World. SCROLL: Scottish Cultural Review of Language and Literature, 18. Amsterdam and New Jersey: Rodopi, pp. 71-92.
Keywords: outlaw legends
Anglo-American ballad
Walter Scott
Robin Hood
'Railroad Bill' ballads
Joseph Ritson
William Wallace
Rob Roy
Highland character
border reivers
Jesse James
'Billy the Kid'
Mexican-American disputes
Border 'debatable lands' in Scotland
rescue narratives
Issue Date: 2012
Date Deposited: 30-Apr-2014
Series/Report no.: SCROLL: Scottish Cultural Review of Language and Literature, 18
Abstract: As scholars of the 'Anglo-American ballad' tradition have frequently observed, ballads have proved to be ideal carriers of cultural information. During periods of emigration from Scotland to North America throughout the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, ballads that crossed the Atlantic – whether transmitted orally by singers or printed in broadsides and chapbooks – retained markers of their Scottish origins while also adapting to new circumstances, a process aided by the ballad’s combination of compelling themes and formal strategies for containment and transmission. This chapter considers a particularly enduring strand of the tradition: the outlaw-hero ballad as developed in Scotland and the United States. Comparing Scottish and American outlaw-hero ballads reveals cultural factors that govern variation in the character type and its representations. And while acknowledging the common attributes of outlaws across cultures, this approach complicates the notion of an abstract, universal 'social banditry'.
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