Juliet Shields »

Juliet Shields is Professor of English at the University of Washington. Her most recent books are Scottish Women’s Writing in the Long Nineteenth Century: The Romance of Everyday Life and Mary Prince, Slavery, and Print Culture in the Anglophone Atlantic World (both 2021).

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This article is © 2022 The Author and is the result of the independent labour of the scholar credited with authorship. Unless otherwise noted, the material contained in this journal is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 (CC BY-NC-ND) International License.
Date of acceptance: 19 September 2019.

Referring to this Article

J. SHIELDS. ‘The Romance of Commerce: Rob Roy, 1817–18’, Romantic Textualities: Literature and Print Culture, 1780–1840, 24 (Winter 2021)

Online: Internet (date accessed): https://www.romtext.org.uk/articles/rt24_101/
PDF DOI:10.18573/romtext.101

The Romance of Commerce

Rob Roy, 1817–1818

Abstract Abstract

Abstract: Scott’s Waverley novels often turn on an opposition between romance—the realm of the unexpected, marvellous and heroic—and real life—the often disappointing realm of the mundane and factual. However, Rob Roy, offers readers no alternative to romance. Instead it is made up of different kinds of romance—namely the gothic and the adventure story or imperial romance. Scott maps the genre of the gothic onto Northumberland, where the remnants of feudalism still prevail, and wealth consists in landed property transmitted across generations. The adventure story, by contrast, links the Scottish Highlands with southern metropolitan Britain through a system of speculation and credit. Rob Roy reflects on Scott’s imbrication in these two systems at the time of the novel’s writing—a period of economic depression and rural depopulation—as he sold metropolitan readers another romanticised image of the Highlands in order to shore up his own landed property.


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