Contempt, sympathy and romance': lowland perceptions of the Highlands and the clearances during the famine years, 1845-1855

Fenyo, Krisztina (1996) Contempt, sympathy and romance': lowland perceptions of the Highlands and the clearances during the famine years, 1845-1855. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

Full text available as:
[thumbnail of 1996fenyophd.pdf] PDF
Download (15MB)
Printed Thesis Information:


This thesis examines Lowland public opinion towards the Highlanders in mid-nineteenth century Scotland. It explores attitudes present in the contemporary newspaper press, and shows that public opinion was divided by three basic perceptions: 'contempt', 'sympathy' and 'romance'.
An analysis of the main newspaper files demonstrates that during the Famine years up to the Crimean War, the most prevalent perception was that of contempt, regarding the Gaels as an 'inferior' and often 'useless' race. The study also describes the battle which sympathetic journalists fought against this majority perception, and shows their disillusionment at what they saw at the time was a hopeless struggle. Within the same period, romanticised views are also examined in the light of how the Highlands were increasingly being turned into an aristocractic playground as well as reservation park for tourists, and a theme for pre-'Celtic Twilight' poets and novelists.

Through the examination of various attitudes in the press, the thesis also presents the major issues debated in the newspapers relating to the Highlands. It draws attention to the fact that the question of land had already become a point of contention, thirty years before the 1880s land reform movement.

The study concludes that in all the three sections of public opinion expressed in the press the Highlanders were seen as essentially a different race from the Lowlanders.

This thesis aims to work within the so far unexplored field of newspaper materials in the mid-nineteenth century, showing the uniqueness, power and richness of these sources for the evaluation of the range of Scottish public opinion. (DXN008,523)

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
D History General and Old World > DA Great Britain
Colleges/Schools: College of Arts & Humanities > School of Humanities > History
Supervisor's Name: Cowan, Prof. Ted and Gifford, Prof. Douglas
Date of Award: 1996
Depositing User: Geraldine Coyle
Unique ID: glathesis:1996-842
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 04 Jun 2009
Last Modified: 10 Dec 2012 13:27

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item


Downloads per month over past year