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Bella Caledonia: Woman, Nation, Text looks at the widespread tradition of using a female figure to represent the nation, focusing on twentieth-century Scottish literature. The woman-as-nation figure emerged in Scotland in the twentieth century, but as a literary figure rather than an institutional icon like Britannia or France’s Marianne. Scottish writers make use of familiar aspects of the trope such as the protective mother nation and the woman as fertile land, which are obviously problematic from a feminist perspective. But darker implications, buried in the long history of the figure, rise to the surface in Scotland, such as woman/nation as victim, and woman/nation as deformed or monstrous. As a result of Scotland’s unusual status as a nation within the larger entity of Great Britain, the literary figures under consideration here are never simply incarnations of a confident and complete nation nurturing her warrior sons. Rather, they reflect a more modern anxiety about the concept of the nation, and embody a troubled and divided national identity. Kirsten Stirling traces the development of the twentieth-century Scotland-as-woman figure through readings of poetry and fiction by male and female writers including Hugh MacDiarmid, Naomi Mitchison, Neil Gunn, Lewis Grassic Gibbon, Willa Muir, Alasdair Gray, A.L. Kennedy, Ellen Galford and Janice Galloway.
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|Collection||SCROLL: Scottish Cultural Review of Language and Literature|