Representing Scotland in Literature, Popular Culture and Iconographybrings together a range of cultural studies. Centred on canonical texts of Scottish literature - including Scott, Stevenson, Conan Doyle and Hugh MacDiarmid - or on the representation of Scotland in canonical texts (Shakespeare), it opens out to other sections, which address painting and music, film, TV, comics and unusual, eccentric or exotic texts considered from surprising perspectives. The television serial Edge of Darkness is read as a natural 1980s successor to the 1970s play (and TV 'Play for Today') The Cheviot, the Stag and the Black, Black Oil. The James Bond phenomenon that exploded in the 1960s is read not only in terms of commercial exploitation but as a subversive reappropration of cultural authority by the post-war world's most durably iconic figuring of Scottishness. To redirect attention from the different disciplines to address the cultural productions of Scotland as comprehensive and inter-related phenomena, is the book's prerogative, from Burns to Braveheart. Nothing like it exists, attempting the trajectory of inclusiveness and yet affirming qualities of cultural distinctiveness, value and pleasure. The illustrations are a vital part of the book's argument. They are not only located in their historical context but the continuities that run from one to another are discussed. Alan Riach demonstrates how certain characteristics change from one era to another and evolve the formation of comfortable distortions associated with the idea of 'home'. In the conclusion, both the attraction of that comfort and the need to leave its distortions behind are recognised as longing and challenge.

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