Research output

Chapter (in Edited Book) ()

Alliance and Defiance in Scottish and American Outlaw-Hero Ballads

Gilbert S (2012) Alliance and Defiance in Scottish and American Outlaw-Hero Ballads. In: Carruthers G, Goldie D, Renfrew A (ed.). Scotland and the 19th-Century World. SCROLL: Scottish Cultural Review of Language and Literature, 18, Amsterdam and New Jersey: Rodopi, pp. 71-92.

As scholars of the 'Anglo-American ballad' tradition have frequently observed, ballads have proved to be ideal carriers of cultural information. During periods of emigration from Scotland to North America throughout the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, ballads that crossed the Atlantic – whether transmitted orally by singers or printed in broadsides and chapbooks – retained markers of their Scottish origins while also adapting to new circumstances, a process aided by the ballad’s combination of compelling themes and formal strategies for containment and transmission. This chapter considers a particularly enduring strand of the tradition: the outlaw-hero ballad as developed in Scotland and the United States. Comparing Scottish and American outlaw-hero ballads reveals cultural factors that govern variation in the character type and its representations. And while acknowledging the common attributes of outlaws across cultures, this approach complicates the notion of an abstract, universal 'social banditry'.

outlaw legends; Anglo-American ballad; Walter Scott; Robin Hood; 'Railroad Bill' ballads; Joseph Ritson; William Wallace; Rob Roy; Highland character; border reivers; Jesse James; 'Billy the Kid'; Mexican-American disputes; Border 'debatable lands' in Scotland; rescue narratives

EditorCarruthers G, Goldie D, Renfrew A
AuthorsGilbert Suzanne
Title of seriesSCROLL: Scottish Cultural Review of Language and Literature
Number in series18
Publication date2012
Place of publicationAmsterdam and New Jersey
ISSN of series 1571-0734
ISBN 978-9-042-03562-1
© University of Stirling FK9 4LA Scotland UK • Telephone +44 1786 473171 • Scottish Charity No SC011159
My Portal