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Deceptive Signification : Walter Scott, "Ivanhoe", and Eighteenth-Century Hermit Discourse

Sommer, Tim

In: Zeitschrift für Anglistik und Amerikanistik, 64 (2016), Nr. 4. pp. 385-398. ISSN 2196-4726 (Online-Ausg.), 0044-2305 (Druck-Ausg.)

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Since the latter part of the nineteenth century, critics have tended to treat Walter Scott’s fiction disparagingly – the tacit assumption often being that it lacks formal sophistication or semantic ‘depth.’ Reading Scott against the grain of this reception, I argue here that "Ivanhoe" (1819/1820) commands an allusive density which complicates such verdicts. Offering a detailed analysis of both the novel’s hermit figure and the cultural geography in which it appears, this essay retraces Scott’s references to eighteenth-century literary, aesthetic, architectural, and horticultural discourses. Acutely aware of drawing from a codified set of readily consumable images, Scott both quotes and subverts the eighteenth-century hermit tradition. Employing an elaborately intertextual strategy to defamiliarize readerly notions of identity and signification, Scott’s writing emerges as somewhat more complex than the history of his critical reception would seem to suggest.

Item Type: Article
Journal or Publication Title: Zeitschrift für Anglistik und Amerikanistik
Volume: 64
Number: 4
Publisher: De Gruyter
Place of Publication: Berlin
Date Deposited: 22 Jan 2020 09:11
Date: 2016
ISSN: 2196-4726 (Online-Ausg.), 0044-2305 (Druck-Ausg.)
Page Range: pp. 385-398
Faculties / Institutes: Neuphilologische Fakultät > Anglistisches Seminar
Subjects: 820 English and Old English literatures
Additional Information: Dieser Beitrag ist aufgrund einer (DFG-geförderten) Allianz bzw. Nationallizenz frei zugänglich. This publication is freely accessible due to an Alliance licence and a national licence (funded by the DFG, German Research Foundation) respectively.
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