Transcending Oppositions in Scottish Culture: A Symposium
Faculdade de Letras da Universidade do Porto
CETAPS – Centre for English, Translation and Anglo-Portuguese Studies
Confirmed keynote speakers:
Professor Murray Pittock (University of Glasgow)
Professor Luísa Leal de Faria (Universidade Católica Portuguesa)
The culture of Scotland has frequently depended on a negotiation of opposites. A nation on the border of its more powerful, and linguistically victorious, Southern neighbour, Scotland developed its own centres of power, thought and knowledge. In several important stages of its history, the people of Scotland was socially and ideologically divided between the Highlands and the Lowlands, Presbyterians and Episcopalians, Unionists and Jacobites (including the more recent rift between those in favour of the Union and those in favour of Devolution and even national independence). Scots participated in the risks and opportunities of the British Empire, but many remained strongly attached to a feeling of national belonging which was emphatically not English. Scottish thinkers made far-reaching contributions to the Enlightenment, yet Scotland was – and is – one of the acknowledged cradles of the gothic. The themes and modes of Scottish literature, in particular, have often oscillated between the realistic and the fantastic, quixotism and pragmatism, with writers providing such impressive embodiments of contradiction as Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, and the many characters in the novels of Walter Scott who inhabit a world of recognizable places and problems but live in a world of romance.
This symposium addresses the problem of oppositions in all aspects of Scottish culture across the centuries. It is intended to focus on the persistence and/or resolution of tensions and discrepancies such as the ones mentioned above, taking into consideration the history, the thought and the literature of (and about) Scotland. At the same time, the event is meant to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the publication of Sir Walter Scott’s début novel, Waverley; or, ’Tis Sixty Years Since, a landmark in the history of the representations of Scotland and of the symbolic negotiations which involve past and present, realism and romance, politics and personal identity, Englishness and Scottishness.