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Literature and UnionScottish Texts, British Contexts$
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Gerard Carruthers and Colin Kidd

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780198736233

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198736233.001.0001

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Once and Future Kingdoms

Once and Future Kingdoms

(p.279) 13 Once and Future Kingdoms
Literature and Union

Donald Mackenzie

Oxford University Press

The first half of this chapter considers responses to kingdoms lost (whether to union or partition) in texts from Scott and Mickiewicz. Redgauntlet as Byronic Hero leads into Konrad Wallenrod, and the latter on to Mickiewicz’s responses (mythmaking, satiric, elegiac, and idyllic) to the failure of the Polish Insurrection of 1830–1. The second half considers, in texts from Ivanhoe to Kipling and Buchan, a myth of English history as organic assimilation into union. It sketches a historiographical context for that myth, and analyses challenges to it: the narrative within Puck of Pook’s Hill that climaxes in Magna Carta, or Buchan’s myth of Old England. Concepts of the elegiac, the duplex homo, historical mythmaking and the counter-kingdom organize both halves. Conrad is a point of reference; and the close brings the discussion under an Arthurian rubric of once and future kingdoms.

Keywords:   counter-kingdom, myth, organicist, elegiac Byronic hero, kingdom

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