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Craig Buchanan


Start date

Apr 2009

Submission date

Apr 2017

Craig Buchanan

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Thesis

Forging Scotland's Identity: the Sobieski Stuart brothers as poets, novelists, and composers (working title)

Summary

John and Charles Allen, known to history as the Sobieski Stuart brothers, were larger-than-life characters who lived on the fringes of Scotland’s social and political scenes for much of the nineteenth century. Their claim to have been the legitimate grandsons of Bonnie Prince Charlie, and therefore the rightful heirs to the Stuart thrones, brought them derision from academics and members of the Establishment, but also allowed them to live a privileged life in the Highlands of Scotland, where they penned a novel, and produced three substantial volumes of poetry, as well as producing one of the first and most successful catalogues of clan tartans, some of which are still in use today. Their history of Highland dress has been examined in detail elsewhere, but no one has attempted to draw together their fiction, poetry and music, and to offer an assessment of their work from a literary and cultural standpoint. That is the aim of the present study.

Why my research is important

Not only will I be looking at material that has been neglected over the past two centuries, and putting it into literary context, I will also be offering comparisons to other contemporary and near-contemporary writers such as Sir Walter Scott, Robert Louis Stevenson, and Lord Byron. I have also been given access to hitherto unpublished correspondence both to and from the brothers, as well as manuscripts which were unpublished at the time of their deaths. That combination of resources will allow me to offer the most definitive analysis of their lives and works undertaken, and to establish once and for all their place in Scotland’s literary canon.


John Sobieski Stuart (Photograph by Hill & Adamson, 1843).