The matter of Jacobitism and the cause of the Stuarts are at the heart of the modern Scottish literary canon, from the songs of Burns via the novels of Scott to the era of Aytoun and Stevenson. Political Jacobitism between 1707 and 1745–6 was the primary vehicle for Scottish independence and anti-unionist sentiment. However, after the collapse of the Jacobite movement at Culloden, later generations of sentimental Jacobite writers, while continuing to be entranced by the romance of Stuart dynasticism, stood for a more pragmatic strain of political acceptance. Sentimental Jacobite writers did not challenge the Union per se, though they tended to subscribe to the view that it was—and should be—a partnership of equals. Scotland, they argued, was not a province of England, no mere Scotland-shire. Nevertheless, much of Scotland’s Jacobite, or more properly neo-Jacobite, literary canon embodied a sotto voice acceptance of the Union.
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