Walter Scott¹s Bannatyne Club, Elite Male Associational Culture, and the Making of Identities

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Examination of the choice of George Bannatyne (1545–1607/8) as titular patron for the antiquarian printing society founded by Sir Walter Scott, the Bannatyne Club (1823–1861), casts new light on the elite male associational culture of the gentleman’s club at a moment of transition from amateur scholarship to the professional academic work of universities and learned societies. In celebrating Bannatyne, the Club engages in self-conscious practices of myth-making that illuminate the members’ sense of their own relationship to the past, and of the Club’s function in endorsing a distinctive Scottish identity in the context of political union. Analysis of a unique collection of papers compiled by an ordinary club member, James Nairne, offers evidence of the complex intersection of personal and scholarly motivations at work in the antiquarian printing club, and of the significance of the past in shaping personal and collective identities.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)732-750
Number of pages19
JournalReview of English Studies
Issue number281
Early online date3 Mar 2016
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2016

Bibliographical note

I am very grateful to the two anonymous readers, and to the period editor Thomas Keymer, for invaluable feedback that has enriched the article. I would also like to thank the Leverhulme Trust, who funded this research through the Early Career Fellowship scheme, and the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, the National Library of Scotland, and the Bodleian Library for their kind permission to reproduce unpublished manuscript material from their collections.


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