Rhetorics of martial virtue: mapping Scottish heroic literature c.1600-1660

Hutcheson, Louise (2014) Rhetorics of martial virtue: mapping Scottish heroic literature c.1600-1660. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Printed Thesis Information: https://eleanor.lib.gla.ac.uk/record=b3031907


This thesis investigates textual cultures of heroism in Scottish literature c. 1600-1660 as evidenced in a corpus of texts engaged with evolving concepts of martial virtue, honour and masculinity. It provides the first sustained analyses of four seventeenth-century romances – Penardo and Laissa (1615) and Prince Robert (1615), both by Patrick Gordon, Sheretine and Mariana (1622) by Patrick Hannay and Calanthrop and Lucilla (1626) by John Kennedy – and their trajectory within a Scottish tradition of writing that was engaged in a fundamental search for its ideal national hero. Over the course of this research, a series of intriguing connections and networks began to emerge which illuminated an active and diverse community of ‘martial writers’ from whom this corpus of texts were conceived. From these pockets of creativity, there emerged a small but significant body of writers who shared not just a military career but often patronage, experience of service in Europe and a literary interest in what I will define in this thesis as the search for post-Union (1603) Scottish male identity. What began as a study of romance texts was prompted to seek new lines of enquiry across a wide and varied body of texts as it sought to engage with a changeable but distinctive thematic discourse of martial heroism, conduct literature for young men disguised as romance. Its findings are by no means always finite; a partly speculative attempt is made to illuminate the path of one particularly pervasive thread of literary discourse – martial virtue – rather than to lay false claims to homogeneity. The nature of this enquiry means that the thesis examines a vast array of texts, including the fictional romances mentioned above and others such as Sir George Mackenzie’s Aretina; Or, the Serious Romance (1660) and John Barclay’s Argenis (1621), non-fictional texts such as Robert Munro’s The Expedition (1638), George Lauder’s The Scottish Soldier (1629) and James Hume’s Pantaleonis Vaticinia Satyra (1633), and their engagement with issues of martial service. It is, in essence, a study of the seventeenth-century Scottish literary hero, sought naturally at first among the epic and fantastical landscapes of fictional romance, but pursued further into the martial world inhabited by its authors, patrons, and, as will be argued, its readers.
In mapping this hitherto neglected topic and its related corpus of texts, the thesis identifies a number of potentially characteristic emphases which evince the development of a specifically martial conversation in seventeenth-century Scotland. It foregrounds the re-emergence of feudal narratives of male identity in the wake of the 1603 Union of the Crowns and after the outbreak of Civil and European war, in which the martial warrior of Brucian romance emerges once again as an ideal model of heroism – the natural antithesis to the more (self-evidently) courtly romance narratives produced at the Stuart court in London. Coupled with the inheritance of a late-fifteenth and sixteenth-century poetics which foregrounds reading as an act of moral investment (from which later writers appear to select the specifically reader-focused aspects of Christian Humanism), the erudite soldier and his corresponding literary protagonist begin to emerge as the foremost Scottish hero in a selection of both fictive and non-fictive texts, from vernacular romance to memoirs and chronicles, and in prose fiction. Across this diverse corpus of texts, collective emphases upon the moral investment of reading, exemplar-based use of historical materials and Scotland’s martial past emerge as a shared advisory paradigm, a conduct book of behaviours for the young Scottish male.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Scottish romance, heroism, martial, martial virtue, soldier, heroic literature, Penardo, Sheretine, Calanthrop, Aretina, Argenis, Gordon, Hannay, Munro, Barclay, Kennedy
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PE English
P Language and Literature > PQ Romance literatures
P Language and Literature > PR English literature
Colleges/Schools: College of Arts & Humanities > School of Critical Studies > Scottish Literature
Supervisor's Name: van Heijnsbergen, Dr. Theo
Date of Award: 2014
Depositing User: Ms Louise Hutcheson
Unique ID: glathesis:2014-5097
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 09 Apr 2014 07:29
Last Modified: 09 Apr 2014 07:33
URI: https://theses.gla.ac.uk/id/eprint/5097

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