This place is not a place: The constructed scene in the works of Sir Walter Scott

Colin J Marlaire, Marquette University


This work examines Sir Walter Scott's use of perspective and landscape, focusing mostly on two of his works, The Bride of Lammermoor and Redgauntlet . It is concerned with the influence of societal factors of production on both author, and through author, text, and the interaction of both as they exist within and without a dominant hegemony. There are, in Scott's works, emergent voices coming from the borders of dominant society, as well as once-dominants struggling against the inevitability of their own dissolution. For a variety of reasons, much of the conflict between these voices occurs in the novel's setting. This study discusses the way in which Scott's constructed scene and perspective make past dignities, present actions, and future dooms a predetermined fact of the constructed scene. It addresses formulations of landscape that point to specific ideological implications, sometimes condemning, sometimes privileging segments of a culture as they are connected to and disconnected from specific locales on the textual stage. Scott's use of the scene has several predecessors: it arises from the selective processes involved in picturesque painting, from the "landed" ontology prevalent in European cultures at this time in social history, from the novelist's growing consciousness of the way in which the world-constructed-in-text influences the way a reading audience sees the world-outside-text. Scott's refraction of the world, his attempts to adjust the conveyed reality against the ambiguating receiver and against the demands of those exterior (and interior) forces that place restrictions on the limits and forms of ideological meaning, leads to a potent fission of meaning within the novel's landscape as an increasingly larger exterior reality is desperately pressed into an increasingly restrictive textual reality. The potency of the medium and its tendency to extend beyond the control of the author lead to more violent attempts to maintain cohesiveness, which in turn powers a novelistic creation that strays further from his control. This study is constructed to identify the gravitational pressures exerted both within the author and without that bend creative intentions and vastly complicate the impact of the created text.

Recommended Citation

Marlaire, Colin J, "This place is not a place: The constructed scene in the works of Sir Walter Scott" (2005). Dissertations (1962 - 2010) Access via Proquest Digital Dissertations. AAI3172496.