Wednesday, August 18, 2010


Here's an item that unites two of my enthusiasms--good-quality on-demand audio content, and "manufactured nationalism."    It's a BBC Book of the Week reading of "Book of the Week - Scott-land: The Man Who Invented a Nation."  You can find it here, but you have to move quickly: BBC leaves this stuff up only a week at a time, and it will start to vanish next Monday.

It's a good listen, although it is no more than an informal and conversational introduction to the topic.  The defining presentation is in György Lukács, The Historical Novel 33-63 (U Nebraska Press ed. 1983).  Remarkably,Lukács undertakes to establish Scott as the anti-romantic--a :bourgeois philistine, as the good Marxist Lukács declares, but our bourgeois philistine, the spiritual progenitor of Marx's favorite novelist, Balzac.   Hugh Trevor-Roper has produced an often-hilarious account of the invention of Scottish cultural parphenalia; that would be "The Invention of Tradition: The Highland Tradition of Scotland," in The Invention of Tradition 15-41 (Eriic Hobsbawm and Terence Ranger eds. 1983).

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