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Deep Mapping and Romanticism: Practical Geography in the Poetry of Sir Walter Scott

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Abstract

Considerations of geography and Scottish Romanticism have tended to focus on the function of landscape and setting as vehicles for exploring national and regional identity. This tendency is apparent in many scholarly assessments of post-Enlightenment Scottish literature and culture, but it is especially evident in recent evaluations of the works of Sir Walter Scott. Collectively, these evaluations have enhanced our understanding of Scott’s influence on modern conceptions of Scottish selfhood. Far less attention, however, has been paid to Scott’s personal understanding of geography, and almost no one has considered the relevance of Scott’s writings to latter-day developments in geographical thought and practice. The present chapter takes up these neglected topics, and in doing so it undertakes to examine the relation of Scott’s early poetry and antiquarian research to the emergence of ‘deep mapping’ as a field of performance and inquiry.