The bagpipe and Romanticism: perceptions of Ossianic 'northernness'

Williams, V. E. (2016) The bagpipe and Romanticism: perceptions of Ossianic 'northernness'. European Romantic Review, 27(4), pp. 459-473. (doi: 10.1080/10509585.2016.1190088)

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Abstract

This article deals with the topic of the bagpipe in Romantic Scotland. During the late-eighteenth- and early-nineteenth-centuries, the bagpipe was described by many authors, such as Thomas Pennant and Sir Walter Scott, as deriving from Northern European countries, and generally as an instrument typifying notions of the Romantic North. Added to this connotation there also emerges a trait which connects the bagpipe to Ossianic atmospheres: according to authors such as John Leyden and John Wilson, and artists such as J. M. W. Turner, the bagpipe is the perfect instrument to evoke the feelings of Macpherson’s Fragments. Both the notions of the bagpipe’s original ‘northernness’ and its connection with Ossian are erroneous; in my article I discuss the reasons for the emergence of this association and imagery during the Romantic era.

Item Type:Articles
Keywords:Bagpipes, Romanticism, Ossian, James Macpherson, Northernness, Scottish literature, Romantic art history, Romantic literature
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Williams, Dr Vivien
Authors: Williams, V. E.
Subjects:N Fine Arts > N Visual arts (General) For photography, see TR
N Fine Arts > ND Painting
P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General)
P Language and Literature > PR English literature
College/School:College of Arts > School of Critical Studies > Scottish Literature
Journal Name:European Romantic Review
Publisher:Routledge
ISSN:1050-9585
ISSN (Online):1740-4657
Published Online:28 June 2016

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