The Mighty Scot

Nation, Gender, and the Nineteenth-Century Mystique of Scottish Masculinity

By Maureen M. Martin

Subjects: English Literature, Gender Studies, History, British Studies, Literary Criticism
Series: SUNY series, Studies in the Long Nineteenth Century
Paperback : 9780791476642, 220 pages, January 2009
Hardcover : 9780791476635, 220 pages, January 2009

Table of contents

List of Illustrations

INTRODUCTION. The Mighty Scot:Nation, Gender, and theNineteenth-Century Mystique of Scottish Masculinity

What Is Scotland?
Male Troubles
Highlands, Lowlands, Scotland
“An Auld Sang”: Narrating the Nation

1. The Jacobite, the Marriage Plot, and the End of Scottish History

A British Family Portrait:Millais’s The Order of Release
Redgauntlet, the Lowlands, and the Historicity of Scottish Nationhood
The Homoerotics of National Union
Discovering England’s Inner Scot in Post–Union Britain

2. Stags and Sassenachs: Stalking Manhood in the Highland Deer Forest

Monarchs, Glens, and the Victorian Deerstalking Craze
From Sissy to Stag: Memoirs and Manuals of Masculine Transformation
Unlikely Heroes: Parody and the Pluck of the English
Moors and Manliness: Touching the “Untouched” Landscape
Who Are the Sons of Fingal? Comradeship and Class in the Highlands
Stag Party: Performing Scottishness, Eating Venison, and Monarch of the Glen

3. The Lad with the Silver Button: Kidnapped and the Dilemma of Lowland Manhood

What Is Scotland? Lowland Masculinity and the Narrating of Scottish Identity
Kidnapped and Scotland’s Split Personality
The Lad with the Silver Button
Conflicts of Genre
The Lad with the Line of Credit
“A Remorse for Something Wrong”:The Lowland Dilemma Unresolved

4. Crimes of Authorship:The Master of Ballantrae and the Telling of the National Tale

The War in the Members: Scottish Divisions and the National Tale
Crimes of Authorship
The Homoerotics of Scottish Identity
The Imperial Option
Scotland the Grave: The Undead Corpse and the Burial Plot

5. “Into the Hands of Women”: The Wizard’s Son, the Glasgow Style,and the Return of the Feminine

Invisible Glasgow
“A Flood of Vital Power”: Oliphant’s Regendering of Scotland
“Baithe Sune and Syne”: History, the Celtic Past, and the Present
Family Values:Lineage, Hearth, and the Womanly Man
The Glasgow Style and Scottish Art
Technology, Tradition, and Teashops
The Survival of the Masculine Mystique

Works Cited

Turns a spotlight on the Victorian love affair with Scotland.


Turning a spotlight on the Victorian love affair with Scotland, The Mighty Scot examines influential representations of Scottishness in literature, art, and hunting memoirs, and explores how Scotland came to be seen as a wellspring of fierce primal masculinity. Maureen M. Martin analyzes portrayals of Scottish masculinity over the course of the nineteenth century and looks at how the mystique of Scottish masculinity arose, the role it played in conceptions of English national identity, and its impact on Scots' attempts to construct a national identity of their own. This engaging book argues that the intricately woven concerns of nationality and masculinity are at the heart of the problematic meanings of Scotland, England, and manliness in nineteenth-century Britain.

Maureen M. Martin is Assistant Professor of English at William Paterson University.


"…Martin's juxtaposition of different nineteenth-century cultural phenomena is … surprising and illuminating." — Studies in Hogg and his World

"The Mighty Scot, in privileging gender and specifically the neglected construct of masculinity as a historical category, offers a thought-provoking commentary on conceptions of national identity. In Scotland especially, the gendered character of debates about national identity has been neglected for too long; this study may prompt historians as well as literary scholars to look more closely at some of the iconic representations of Scottishness. It may also begin a more thorough historical gendering of the national story that hitherto remains partial and too dependent on a masculinist narrative." — Victorian Studies

"…marshals refreshing combinations of texts and paintings." — The Wordsworth Circle

"Martin's scrupulous attention to the cultural and political differences between Lowlands and Highlands … enables her to document how critics transferred the masculine mystique associated with Scotland's centuries-long history of independence … the book's lively and comprehensive familiarity with nineteenth-century Scottish fiction and English writing about Scotland teases out long-overlooked complexities." — Studies in English Literature

"The Mighty Scot is a fascinating study of the nineteenth-century gendering of Scotland and the Scots. Exploring a broad range of representations, Maureen M. Martin elicits from her title figure not only a rich account of nineteenth-century masculinity but also a powerful argument regarding the place of gender in the construction of national identity. As it shows the importance of masculinity in shaping vexed negotiations among the identities of Scotland, England, and Great Britain, Martin's penetrating historical analysis enriches our understanding of a political struggle that continues to the present day." — James Eli Adams, author of Dandies and Desert Saints: Styles of Victorian Masculinity