The Introduction outlines the cultural significance of Scott’s work from the perspective of recent discussions in the field of cultural memory studies particularly as these relate to the relationship between modernization and the cultivation of the past. Scott’s enormously popular work, both his poetry and his Waverley novels, synthesized a highly portable form of memory for a modern public and, thanks to multiple adaptations to other media, helped integrate it into material culture as a key feature of identity. But his immense popularity was also transient creating the paradox that this maker par excellence of modern memory was himself quickly forgotten. The case of Scott, it is argued, provides a keyhole perspective on the dynamics of remembering and forgetting in the age of rapid turnovers.
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