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Romanticism as Resistance: Bishop Robert Forbes’s Jacobite Collection, The Lyon in Mourning

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Romanticism as Resistance: Bishop Robert Forbes’s Jacobite Collection, The Lyon in Mourning

In the thirty year period following the failure of the Jacobite Rebellion of 1745-46, communication of Jacobite sympathies in Scotland retreated from the public realm. Jacobite discourse became characterised by covert tactics of expression and secretive exchanges of political conviction. This dissertation examines the way in which these private sentiments were portrayed within one exemplary manuscript collection compiled throughout this period. Bishop Robert Forbes’s ten volume collection entitled The Lyon in Mourning is an eclectic composition of first-hand narratives from the rebellion and its subsequent aftermath, transcribed conversations with those involved, speeches delivered by convicted rebels prior to their executions as well as contemporary Jacobite verse and material relics related to the cause. Through a merging of book historical and material culture approaches to the study of the manuscript, the nature of this furtive expression is examined. The study has found that the manuscript and its content underwent a process of depoliticalisation beginning in the late eighteenth-century, which has carried false conceptions regarding contemporary Jacobite discourse through to the present day. Analysis of the material aspects of the collection in connection to its written content reveal the intricacies of an active political movement that was forced to develop new means of verbal, written and silent expression. This new idiom was romantic in character but remained purposeful its execution until its later recontextualisations stripped it of its political origins. The Lyon in Mourning thus signals the emergence of the romanticism of the Jacobite cause, and in turn, the false representations of the Scottish national image that developed from it. This study further concludes that the layers of material and textual meaning employed in Jacobite circles cannot be explored in isolation but must be readdressed as interdependent elements of an unique political language.

McRae, Catherine (2014) Romanticism as Resistance: Bishop Robert Forbes’s Jacobite Collection, The Lyon in Mourning. Masters thesis, University of London.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Subjects: English
Divisions: Institute of English Studies
Collections: Theses and Dissertations > Dissertation
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