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Literature and the Scottish Reformation


Throughout the twentieth century Scottish literary studies was dominated by a critical consensus addressing the contemporary anti-Catholic atmosphere which resulted in a re-reading of the Reformation. This consensus saw the replacement of a rich medieval culture with a Protestant anti-aesthetic tyranny of life and letters. As a result, Scottish literature has consistently been defined in opposition to the Calvinism to which it frequently returns. Yet, as the essays in this collection show, such a consensus appears increasingly untenable in light both of recent research and a more detailed survey of Scottish literature. This collection launches a full-scale reconsideration of the series of relationships between literature and reformation in early modern Scotland. Previous scholarship in this area has tended to dismiss the literary value of the writing of the period - largely as a reaction to its regular theological interests. Instead the essays in this volume reinforce recent work that challenges the received scholarly consensus by taking these interests seriously, the volume agues for the importance of this religiously orientated writing, through the adoption of a series of interdisciplinary approaches. Arranged chronologically the collection concentrates on major authors and texts while engaging with a number of contemporary critical issues and so highlighting, for example, writing by women in the period. It addresses the concerns of historians, theologians and historians who have routinely accepted the established reading of this period of literary history in Scotland and offers a radically new interpretation of the complex relationships between literature and religious reform in early modern Scotland.

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Tags: Scottish, which, Reformation, consensus, frequently