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Journal Articles Observatoire de la société britannique Year : 2016

Caledonia Dreaming : commitment, literature and independence


This paper examines the notion of commitment in literature in the contemporary context, and the connection between literature and nationalism in Scotland. It starts with the philosophical reflection on the goal of all art that Alan Riach and Alexander Moffat based their argument on in their book The Arts of Independence (2014), in order to underline the ways commitment is related to the history of cultural nationalism and to the representation of Scottish identity in contemporary literature, in places where this representation does appear. In order to do so, the paper tackles the necessity for artists to eschew what Eleanor Bell calls the postmodern predicament, in particular the dangers of an essentialist approach to Scottishness. It also examines the wider implications of the concept of cultural nationalism, in a context where inferiorism as well as banal nationalism are surfacing again. These recent developments have led artists and critics alike to try to devise new configurations for cultural nationalism, with the return of the idea of an " archipelagic " identity, or with a distinction being drawn between independence and interdependence for example. The part played by the artists in the independence debate, their commitment, has been precisely to promote a literature that looks at what, according to Riach and Moffat, is the essential goal and virtue of all art, to speak to and of our humanity.
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hal-01310269 , version 1 (02-05-2016)



Marie-Odile Pittin-Hedon. Caledonia Dreaming : commitment, literature and independence. Observatoire de la société britannique, 2016, 18, pp.129-145. ⟨10.4000/osb.1831⟩. ⟨hal-01310269⟩
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