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Appears in Collections:History and Politics Journal Articles
Peer Review Status: Refereed
Title: Robert Bruce's Bones: Reputations, Politics and Identities in Nineteenth-Century Scotland
Author(s): Penman, Michael A
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Keywords: Scotland
Robert Bruce
William Adam
Walter Scott
1818 1819
Robert I, King of Scots, 1274-1329
Scotland History Robert I, 1306-1329
Scotland Kings and rulers
Issue Date: 2009
Date Deposited: 16-Feb-2011
Citation: Penman MA (2009) Robert Bruce's Bones: Reputations, Politics and Identities in Nineteenth-Century Scotland. International Review of Scottish Studies, 34, pp. 7-73.
Abstract: From introduction: In a recent survey of public opinion in Scotland, the figure of Robert Bruce, king of Scots (1306-29), was ranked third, with 12% of the vote, in a list of ‘most important Scots.’ Bruce thus posted, arguably quite predictably, behind, first, with 36%, William Wallace (c.1270-1305), the ‘people’s Champion’ of the Wars of Independence, and second, with 16%, bard and radical icon Robert Burns (1759-96).3 At first glance, these results chime in neatly with some of the political and media reaction to such surveys, often from Conservative quarters, which laments the apparent preference of the Scottish national character for romantic failures and lads o’ pairts with a democratic tinge (and preferably a dramatic early death) over and above any successful, authoritarian or upper-class role models of perhaps questionable political integrity.4 Such a collective reticence about Bruce or his type seems, too, to be echoed backwards in time: for example, in the public’s reluctance to subscribe to various campaigns in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries to fund physical memorials to Bruce, efforts discussed in detail below. In the same period, the prose and verse fiction, drama and visual art which revisited the Wars of Independence almost always cast Bruce in the shadow of Wallace, often strikingly as a waverer (who as earl of Carrick in fact changed sides on at least five occasions during the Wars of Independence) and who had to be persuaded to the true patriotic cause by the words, deeds and sacrifice of the lesser hero knight.5
Rights: Images - Plate 3, page 24: Sir Joseph Noel Paton's unfulfilled design for a monumental memoerial over 'Bruce's tomb' in Dunfermline Abbey, c.1845 - reproduced by permission of National Galleries of Scotland [NGS D 4252/17 - hard-copy and on-line rights secured]. Blair Adam Archive material [National Register of Archives 1454] citations permission secured.; Published in International Review of Scottish Studies by Centre for Scottish Studies at the University of Guelph.; Open Access. Statement on website: "This journal provides open access to all of its content on the principle that making research freely available to the public supports a greater global exchange of knowledge. Such access is associated with increased readership and increased citation of an author's work. For more information on this approach, see the Public Knowledge Project, which has designed this system to improve the scholarly and public quality of research, and which freely distributes the journal system as well as other software to suppor

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