Research article
Issue: № 4 (32), 2022


The article deals with the image of Scotland in temporal aspect. This aspect is represented by «Scottish time» and realized in two temporal organizations of poetic texts:

1) ring (mythopoetic model of the "eternal return");

2) targeted (historical model of "progress").

Mythopoetic model of the "eternal return" is dominant in the creation of the image of Scotland. Historical model of "progress" appeals to historical time (Scotland from the time of Robert Bruce to Scotland contemporary to them). This peculiarity is connected with patriotic orientation of poetic texts. Historical time connects poetic texts of Scottish emigrants both with Scottish literary tradition and American historical and patriotic poetry.

1. Introduction

Scotland is known all over the world for its both glorious and dramatic history. Scottish emigration of the XIXth century to the United States is the part of that history. It resulted in the appearance of a cluster of Scottish poets-emigrants who influenced Scottish and American literary history, created great variety of artistic images in their poems. A crucial image in understanding Scottish emigrational poetry is the image of Scotland as Motherland.  

The purpose of this work is to analyze the temporal aspect of the image of Scotland represented in the poetic texts of Scottish poets-emigrants. The purpose determined the following tasks:

1) to analyze the category of time in poetic texts;

2) to determine basic types of temporal organization dominant in the image of Scotland;

3)  to determine the relevance of temporal aspect of patriotic motives.

The material of this research work  – the poetic texts of the Scottish emigrants of the XIXth century.  The novelty of the study consists in an attempt to analyze the image of Scotland in the context of ring and targeted temporal organizations of poetic texts of  Scottish poets-emigrants.

2. Research methods and principles

Historic and literary and socio-cultural approaches, as well as methods of contextual and motive analyses are used in the article.

3. Main results

Temporal aspect is represented by Scottish time – any time related to Scotland in any way.  It is one of the most fundamental tools in the creation of the image of Scotland as Motherland. For the analysis, it was necessary to investigate 2 types of temporal organization of the poetic texts:

1) ring (mythopoetic model of the "eternal return");

2) targeted (historical model of "progress").

The first mythopoetic model implements the image of the Motherland as Scotland Forever, Mither Land, Home Land. The second, historical model builds the image of the Motherland from Scotland of the period of Wallace to Scotland as our Own Land.

It was expected that target temporal organization with the focus on real time history would be leading. Both external (social) factors and internal (biographical and psychological) factors should have helped Scottish poets-emigrants to create the image of Scotland of their time. Scotland underwent significant changes during the XIXth century in real time history. The economy changed: the number of banks increased 10 times. The demographic situation also changed: the population of the country grew 4 times, despite active emigration (to England and beyond the ocean) [3], [7], [8].

Scottish  poets-emigrants of the XIXth century (unlike the emigrants of the XVIIIth  century) could visit their Motherland-Scotland regularly. The reasons were both personal and professional (publishing, writers meetings). In addition, there was a lively correspondence with relatives and friends who lived in Scotland. This fact was reflected in poetic texts (for example, in J. Kennedy’s  "Lament on the departure of a British poet"). Consequently, the sociocultural image of the Scotland in real time history was more or less known to poets.

The existence of the targeted (historical model of "progress") temporal organization is related to the historical time. It allows to create the patriotic attitude to the image of Scotland. Historical time is important due to the following reasons:

1) The mythogenic patriotic picture of "their own"  world should embrace elements of history: stories about the legendary past of the Motherland.

2) Laudative function of patriotic texts is obliged to grow not only from the "glorious", "great" place, but also from the "glorious", "great" time. This is the "time of the ancestors", the "founding fathers" of this state, country, land in the myth. They (at the very beginning or later, often at the climax) win the great battle/great battles, giving  "their" people the final freedom and possibilities of prosperity. Such plot and hero could be found in the poetic text "The Knight O’Ellerslie" by H. Ainslie: "<...> Oh! wha could bide by pleugh an’ spade, / While a Southern's in the land? / Oh! wha can lag whan Wallace wight, / Has ta'en his sword in hand <...>" [1, P. 135].  "Old Glory" of their Motherland-Scotland cannot be embodied without such plots and heroes.

Similar plots and heroes were already reflected in Scottish metropolitan poetry. They were a special characteristic of the Time of Trouble: civil, religious and sociocultural disagreements (Dissent) and disturbances (Disorder, Mutiny).  In the history of Scotland such periods were the eras of interregnum, social and religious conflicts (late XIIIth – beginning of the XIVth cc., the end of the XVIth – beginning of the XVIIth cc., Ist half of the XVIIIth c.). Correspondingly, their patriotic texts were written  in skeptical and/or satirical tones. (For example, pamphlets and invectives of the mentioned eras, anonymous or belonging to the leading poets: Sir Richard Maitland (1495-1586), Richard Lindsay (1490-1555), Robert Burns (1759-1796)).

3) All these poets-satirists, poets-skeptics lived in Scotland. Poets-emigrants were aware of such "black holes" of a patriotic history as well, since they lived in the other society, with other, more critical views on Western European history in general and Scottish British history in particular. However, poets-emigrants could not develop negative variants of patriotic motives. By this they would lower their own status, depicting themselves as representatives of the country with non-heroic history. Therefore, the heroification of history (and, consequently, historical time) demanded its mythologization.

That’s why the image of "eternal Scotland" in the texts under analysis does not just prevail. In fact, it contains the only version of the "Scottish time", implemented in the present (W. Lyle’s "The land of  the heather"; J. Patterson’s "Dreaming"; J. Kennedy’s "To the shade of Burns"; D. Ramsay’s "Auld Ruglin Brig"). The illustration of  such an image could be found in A. Wanless’ poetic text "Our Mither Tongue".  The first lines describe Scotland’s past: "It’s monie a day since first we left / Auld Scotland’s rugged hills – /  Her heath’ry braes and gow’ny glens, / Her bonnie winding rills <…>" [6, P. 128]. Then the author gives us a real link which connects the past and present forever and helps all Scots to cherish the past and be themselves in emigrational present: "<...> We’ll ne'er forget that glorious land. / Where Scott and Burns sung / Their sangs are printed on our hearts / In our auld mither tongue. <...>" [6, P. 128]. This mythopoetic model of "eternal" static paradise time is related to the image of Motherland-Scotland.

Two models of mythologized history are of special importance in the poetry of the Scottish emigration of the XIXth century. The first model produced  tragic, bloody myth. The history of Scotland was represented as the history of the martyrs for Scotland: for its religion (Protestantism), for its territory (motif of war on the Scottish borderline), for its language (Gaelic and/or Scots), for its freedom, understood as the right to live in "Auld Lang Syne" way.

The second model of mythologized history became more popular. It replicated an optimistic myth of golden history of Scotland.  The story of Scotland was interpreted as the "History of the Winners": religious (God is OUR Friend in J. Lyle’s "Bonnie wee sprig o’ the dear purple heather…"), territorial (Great/Grand Scotland in J.D. Law’s "The Woods o’ Clova"), social (Scotland as the homeland of brave and free in P. MacPherson’s "Genealogical").

It was the emphasis on the "golden" history of Scotland that made it possible to bring this history closer to the "golden" history of the United States. In the poetry of the Scottish American poets it is the history of people, free and brave, faithful to their God and their country. 

The texts describing "big", "distant" historical time became epic. All these heroes are no longer the lyrical doubles of the authors: King Richard I (Richard the Lionheart) (W. Wilson, "Richard Coeur de Lion"), Lord Darnley, husband of Queen Mary, Queen of Scots, and Mary herself (W. Lyle, "The Murder at Holy"), the leader of Scotland's uprising for independence, Sir William Wallace (H. Ainslie, "The Knight O’Ellerslie"). They are independent characters, although bearing authors’ main topics about historical possibilities of the native country, fidelity or betrayal. The implementation of these topics was ambiguous: on the one hand, this made their poetic texts look like texts of R. Burns or W. Scott. On the other hand, this was their own way to contribute to the development of historical and patriotic poetry of the United States of America.

4. Conclusion

Scottish poets-emigrants of the USA of the XIXth century  knew about all changes taking place in Scotland of that period. They had an opportunity to correspond and visit Scotland. However, not the real historical time but the time of "eternal Scotland" is dominant in their poetic texts. It implements the model of mythologized history and refers  to an optimistic myth of "golden" history of Scotland directly and coming golden history of the USA indirectly.

Article metrics