This article considers Scott’s late fiction by examining its treatment of the body and in particular the ways in which it challenges a Cartesian split between mind and body. More specifically, it explores the ways in which broken and fragmented bodies are presented in Castle Dangerous and Count Robert of Paris, Scott’s last two novels. It also examines the ways in which Scott explores issues of bodily and gender performance in these texts and interrogates these acts via the theories of Judith Butler. It relates these “bodily” challenges to essentialist ideas of identity and binary notions of gender to a more widespread resistance to closure and epistemological certainty in Scott’s work, thus arguing that rather than embodying the last works of an author approaching death, these texts offer a resistance to death through their disruption of bodily stability. This article builds on the editorial reconstruction of these late fictions by the Edinburgh Edition of the Waverley Novels and on some recent re-evaluations of these particular texts. By doing so it seeks to suggest one of the many ways in which Scott’s fiction has been “re-awakened” by recent scholarship.
- Walter Scott
- Count Robert of Paris
- Castle Dangerous
- abject bodies
- Judith Butler
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- School of Language, Literature, Music & Visual Culture, English - Regius Chair of English Literature
- WORD Centre for Creative Writing