The phrase 'debatable lands' came into use in the sixteenth century with reference to disputed parts of the Anglo-Scottish border. It was Walter Scott, writing in the Romantic period, who brought it to a wider public, and it gradually came to be applied both to disputed territories in other parts of the world and also, by metaphorical extension, to disputes which were not so much geographical but intellectual, political or artistic.The concept of 'debatable lands', because of its denial of a boundary, creates a space outside any acknowledged territory where the unexpected can happen. This new collection of essays uses the phrase as a starting point to explore questions of nation and border, empire and colonization in the Romantic period, exploring a range of genres including biography, scientific and travel writing and antiquarianism.

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