Douglas Gifford's Scott-land: from Enlightenment to Renaissance

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The oeuvre of the late Douglas Gifford challenges some of the central orthodoxies in modern Scottish literature: the identification of Scott as a romantic; the perception of a Victorian and Edwardian trough embodied in evasions of contemporary social realities, whether in post-romantic historical escapism or the arcadian swerve of kailyard; and the conception of the inter-war Renaissance as a revolution against the sentimentality which supposedly preceded it. Gifford invites us to question these received ideas and to rethink the major turning points in Scotland's modern literary history. Yet Gifford's revisionism was polite and unobtrusive, and because of this the dramatic implications of his work have yet to be fully appreciated. Moreover, it is unclear whether Gifford ever wholly abandoned the essentialist assumptions that his scholarship implicitly undermined.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)117-132
JournalScottish Literary Review
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 8 Dec 2021


  • Douglas Gifford
  • Modern Scottish literature
  • Scottish literary criticism
  • Scottish literary history
  • Walter Scott
  • James Hogg
  • John Galt
  • Edwin Muir
  • Scottish Enlightenment
  • Scottish literary renaissance
  • Revisionism
  • Essentialism


Dive into the research topics of 'Douglas Gifford's Scott-land: from Enlightenment to Renaissance'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this