Thinking through Scotland: literary form, borders and the environmental imagination

Ditter, Julia (2022) Thinking through Scotland: literary form, borders and the environmental imagination. Doctoral thesis, Northumbria University.

Text (Doctoral thesis)
ditter.julia_phd (19014697).pdf - Submitted Version

Download (1MB) | Preview


This thesis examines the potential vantage points and/or trajectories Scottish literature can offer for a revaluation of the dominant frameworks underlying the relationship between borders and the environment. Focusing on Scottish literary responses to borders and environmental discourses from the early nineteenth century to the present day, I explore how literature shifts the dominant parameters used to define both bordering processes and the environment by thinking them through Scotland. I demonstrate that the creative possibilities of literature and the specific affordances of a Scottish context enable Scottish literary works to play through and imagine the manifold interdependencies between bordering processes and environmental concerns.

Building on Caroline Levine’s strategic formalism, and employing Rita Felski’s postcritical reading practice, I identify three auxiliary forms that articulate the relationship between borders and the environment through Scotland: the littoral, planetarity and territory. Through a combination of theoretical discussions, in-depth case studies and shorter analyses in the form of critical vignettes, I demonstrate how these forms are mobilised by writers from the nineteenth century to the present to reconfigure borders in connection with the Scottish environment.

By approaching borders from an environmental perspective and through literary form, my thesis contributes a methodological angle of analysis to border studies research that sheds new light on the often-complicated relationship between borders and the environment. In developing a transtemporal approach that focuses on literary form, my thesis provides a methodological intervention in (Scottish) Literary Studies and the environmental humanities that demonstrates the value of literary approaches beyond historicism for approaching concerns about the environment and borders. By focusing on a method of writing that thinks through Scotland in order to approach these concerns, my thesis highlights the merit of considering Scottish literary perspectives beyond the limitations of methodological nationalism.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Additional Information: Funding information: I am very grateful to Northumbria University for fully funding this research through their Researcher Development Fund.
Uncontrolled Keywords: Scottish literature, new formalism, 1900-2022, ecocriticism
Subjects: Q200 Comparative Literary studies
Department: Faculties > Arts, Design and Social Sciences > Humanities
University Services > Graduate School > Doctor of Philosophy
Depositing User: John Coen
Date Deposited: 20 Jan 2023 10:42
Last Modified: 20 Jan 2023 10:45

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item


Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics