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The End of the World? Representations of Scandinavia in Nineteenth-Century Scottish Travel Literature

Author

  • Carlotta Ohlemann

Summary, in English

This dissertation analyses the representations of Norway, Denmark and Sweden in Scottish travel literature towards the end of the Georgian Era. By comparing two travel accounts, I aim to identify both the authors’ approach to the Nordic countries as well as their reflections on their own national identity. The primary sources used are Henry David Inglis’ A Personal Narrative of a Journey through Norway, Part of Sweden and the Islands and States of Denmark (1826) and William Rae Wilson’s Travels in Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Hanover, Germany, Netherlands &c. (1826). They were written in a politically, historically and culturally significant period that is defined by British imperialism and Romanticism. Therefore, this dissertation employs an approach based on postcolonial research that examines the period’s image of Scandinavia as the periphery of Europe and inhabited by a variation of the ‘noble savage’ trope. From a British perspective, Scandinavia represents simplicity and primitivism while Britain is defined by modernity and progress. However, this dissertation’s focus on Scotland shows that the authors locate their own identity in connection with the British Empire and the Scandinavian North. Their constant discussion of Scotland suggests a distinct, if unstable, Scottish identity embedded into the general acceptance of the unification with England.

Department/s

  • Master's Programme: Literature - Culture - Media

Publishing year

2020

Language

English

Document type

Student publication for Master's degree (two years)

Topic

  • Languages and Literatures

Keywords

  • Scandinavia
  • Scotland
  • travel literature
  • Georgian Era
  • postcolonialism
  • borealism
  • Scottish national identity
  • Great Britain
  • British Union

Supervisor

  • Anders Mortensen