Relationships between modernity and national identity raise issues of how the imagination of place is remembered morally and visually. This article considers aspects of cultural output in Scotland during the 1930s and 1940s. While the romantic, rural emphasis of travelogue imagery evaded urbanization, the important literary nationalists Edwin Muir and Hugh MacDiarmid produced nightmare visions of a country defiled by industrialization and imperialism. Against this, the pioneering film-maker John Grierson celebrated modernity as a process of continuity rather than rupture through an ongoing inheritance of national values. Their differing evaluations of alienation and belonging have contributed to stereotypes of place that figure iconographically in the national consciousness as sites of memory thereby compromising the ways in which individual accounts may be recollected through the modern social imaginary.