Ghosts of Scotland: Scottish supernatural literature as history

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Scottish Literature frequently turns to the supernatural to tell the story of Scottish Literature. The motif of ghosts and hauntings evokes a Scotland that is in the past but can return to be repossessed in cultural forms in the present. This essay explores two contrasting examples. James Macpherson’s Fragments of Ancient Poetry (1760) evokes an ancient Scottish past to mourn the much more recent Battle of Culloden, in which the Jacobite army was defeated, and to incorporate that loss into modern British culture. Alice Thompson’s Pharos (2006), by contrast, uses the form of the ghost story to show how Scotland’s part in the slave trade cannot be easily absorbed into the modern world or acknowledged in the history of Scottish Literature.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)80-92
JournalJournal of Literature in English
Publication statusPublished - 18 Jun 2023

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • Gothic literature
  • James Macpherson
  • Fragments of Ancient Poetry
  • Alice Thompson
  • Pharos
  • Scotland


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