Skip to main content
Article thumbnail
Location of Repository

Singing in a new world: Scotland - hopeless schizophrenic or cosmopolitan post nation?

By M. Farrell


Rival views of Scotland at the beginning of the twenty-first century see the nation as either, hopelessly schizophrenic, mired in its own bedevilled tartanry and forever salvaging the present through historic erasure or as a cosmopolitan postnation at ease with its contradictory legacies and able to tap its inherent multiplicities for a contemporary self image. These contentions are being interrogated in public debates and political contexts as well as in literature in Scotland. The process of re-imagining or re-visioning Scotland began much earlier than 1999 when the Scottish Parliament, last adjourned in 1707, was reconvened. Contemporary authors have long been reconsidering issues of identity and how this could and should be represented in their writing.\ud \ud This paper will examine how the underlying forces of insistent Scottish identity-making now seem to be moving in the direction of synthesis rather than fragmentation within literature, permitting multiple perspectives and a plurality of approaches through different genres, recognising other people’s rights to perceive or imagine Scotland differently. Anne Forbes’ novels Dragonfire,(2006) The Wings of Ruksh (2007) and The Underground City (2008), fully post-modern fantasy novels, will be used as examples of ‘fusion’ texts introducing an optimistic new notion of ‘belonging’ transcending the cultural fatalism of the so-called ‘clash of civilisations’ hypothesis and building positively on the politics of difference. They represent a form of literary cosmopolitanism entirely consonant with the way Scottish society currently aspires to progress, offering the right set of circumstances for developing new forms of syncretistic myth-making and storytelling across and between communities

Topics: PZ, PN
Year: 2009
OAI identifier:
Provided by: Enlighten

Suggested articles


  1. (2007). In/outside Scotland: Race and Citizenship in the work of Jackie Kay.
  2. (2008). The Underground City,
  3. (2009). The Wings of Ruksh,

To submit an update or takedown request for this paper, please submit an Update/Correction/Removal Request.