Acts of Union: Scotland and the Literary Negotiation of the British Nation, 1707-1832 explores the political relationship between Scotland and England as it was negotiated in the literary realm in the century after the 1707 Act of Union. It examines Britain, one of the precursors to the modern nation, not as a homogeneous, stable unit, but as a dynamic process, a dialogue between heterogeneous elements. Far from being constituted by a single Act of Union, Britain was forged—in all the variant senses of that word—from multiple acts of union and dislocation over time.

Each of the first five chapters focuses on a discursive encounter between a Scottish and an English writer. Chapter 1 examines the political debate between Daniel Defoe and Lord Belhaven concerning the Act of Union. Chapter 2 considers how Tobias Smollett and Henry Fielding used the novel form to highlight their concerns regarding the state of the nation after the 1745 rebellion. Chapter 3 analyzes the debate between James Macpherson and Samuel Johnson over the poems of Ossian and the origins of British culture, concluding with the crucial role played by James Boswell as a political and cultural mediator. Chapter 4 reads William Wordsworth's renegotiation of Robert Burns's work after the Scottish poet's death as illustrative of the contest for control of the British cultural realm at the end of the eighteenth century. Chapter 5 argues that in his 1830 republication of Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border, Walter Scott imagines alternative histories of Britain and of English literature through his negotiations with Thomas Percy and his Scottish predecessors Macpherson and Burns. The concluding chapter considers the use made of the representation of Scottish national difference in the institutionalization of English literature. 

In Music, Postcolonialism, and Gender: The Construction of Irish National Identity, 1724-1874Leith Davis studies the construction of Irish national identity from the early eighteenth until the mid-nineteenth centuries, focusing in particular on how texts concerning Irish music, as well as the social settings within which those texts emerged, contributed to the imagining of Ireland as “the Land of Song.” Through her considerations of Irish music collections by the Neals, Edward Bunting, and George Petrie; antiquarian tracts and translations by Joseph Cooper Walker, Charlotte Brooke, and James Hardiman; and lyrics and literary works by Sidney Owenson, Thomas Moore, Samuel Lover, and Dion Boucicault, Davis suggests that music served as an ideal means through which to address the ambiguous and ever-changing terms of the colonial relationship between Ireland and England. Davis also explores the gender issues so closely related to the discourses on both music and national identity during the time, and the influence of print culture and consumer capitalism on the representation of Irish music at home and abroad. She argues that the emergence of a mass market for culture reconfigured the gendered ambiguities already inherent in the discourses on Irish music and identity. Davis’s book will appeal to scholars within Irish studies, postcolonial studies, gender studies, print culture, new British history, eighteenth- and nineteenth-century studies, and ethnomusicology.

Originally published in 2004, Scotland and the Borders of Romanticism is a collection of critical essays devoted to Scottish writing between 1745 and 1830 - a key period marking the contested divide between Scottish Enlightenment and Romanticism in British literary history. Essays in the volume, by leading scholars from Scotland, England, Canada and the USA, address a range of major figures and topics, among them Hume and the Romantic imagination, Burns's poetry, the Scottish song and ballad revivals, gender and national tradition, the prose fiction of Walter Scott and James Hogg, the national theatre of Joanna Baillie, the Romantic varieties of historicism and antiquarianism, Romantic Orientalism, and Scotland as a site of English cultural fantasies. The essays undertake a collective rethinking of the national and period categories that have structured British literary history, by examining the relations between the concepts of Enlightenment and Romanticism as well as between Scottish and English writing.

While recent scholarship has usefully positioned Burns within the context of British Romanticism as a spokesperson of Scottish national identity, Robert Burns and Transatlantic Culture considers Burns's impact in the United States, Canada, and South America, where he has served variously as a site of cultural memory and of creative negotiation. Ambitious in its scope, the volume is divided into five sections that explore: transatlantic concerns in Burns's own work, Burns's early publication in North America, Burns's reception in the Americas, Burns's creation as a site of cultural memory, and extra-literary remediations of Burns, including contemporary digital representations. By tracing the transatlantic modulations of the poet and songwriter and his works, Robert Burns and Transatlantic Culture sheds new light on the circuits connecting Scotland and Britain with the evolving cultures of the Americas from the late eighteenth century to the present.