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British State RomanticismAuthorship, Agency, and Bureaucratic Nationalism$
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Anne Frey

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780804762281

Published to Stanford Scholarship Online: June 2013

DOI: 10.11126/stanford/9780804762281.001.0001

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Speaking for the Law

Speaking for the Law

State Agency in Scott's Novels

Chapter:
(p.88) Three Speaking for the Law
Source:
British State Romanticism
Publisher:
Stanford University Press
DOI:10.11126/stanford/9780804762281.003.0004

Scott's novels rethink how the law can best enfold Scotland into Britain. Drawing on Foucault's model of pastoral state power, this chapter argues that Scott develops the historical novel in part to suggest that nongovernmental individuals better mediate the passage of British order into regions, such as the highlands of Scotland, which it has not yet penetrated. For him, these agents succeed where the courts fail because they know local populations and bend British law and order to address the population's needs, and to ease the working of British legitimacy. Scott suggests that novelists demonstrate the kind of attention to individual and regional differences which he thinks the pastoral state provides, and that they themselves serve as pastoral agents, showing the context in which the government should understand the information it collects about individuals.

Keywords:   British law, state power, Scotland, Britain, historical novel

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