This book participates in the modern recovery of the memory of the long-forgotten relationship between Scotland and the Caribbean. Drawing on theoretical paradigms of world literature and transnationalism, it argues that Caribbean slavery profoundly shaped Scotland’s economic, social and cultural development, and draws out the implications for current debates on Scotland’s national narratives of identity. Eighteenth- to nineteenth-century Scottish writers are re-examined in this new light. Morris explores the ways that discourses of "improvement" in both Scotland and the Caribbean are mediated by the modes of pastoral and georgic which struggle to explain and contain the labour conditions of agricultural labourers, both free and enslaved. The ambivalent relationship of Scottish writers, including Robert Burns, to questions around abolition allows fresh perspectives on the era. Furthermore, Morris considers the origins of a hybrid Scottish-Creole identity through two nineteenth-century figures - Robert Wedderburn and Mary Seacole. The final chapter moves forward to consider the implications for post-devolution (post-referendum) Scotland. Underpinning this investigation is the conviction that collective memory is a key feature which shapes behaviour and beliefs in the present; the recovery of the memory of slavery is performed here in the interests of social justice in the present.
"…Michael Morris's excellent book is especially timely in its recognition of the vast, and enduring, significance of slavery to British imperial prosperity and national cohesion, and to the contemporary Atlantic world."
Joe Jackson, University of Nottingham, Association for Scottish Literary Studies
Introduction: Scotland and the Caribbean, c. 1740-1833 1. Theoretical Orientations: Transnationalism in the Atlantic World 2. Archipelagic Poetics: Pastoral, Georgic, and the Scoto-British Imperial Vision, c.1740-1785 3. Robert Burns: Slavery, Freedom and Abolition, 1786-1800 4. Not Immediate but Gradual: Abolition to Emancipation, 1800-1833 5. Recovering Scottish Creoles from the Caribbean 6. Joseph Knight: History, Fiction, Memory