Book Chapter

Democracy and the Indyref Novel

Citation

Hames S (2022) Democracy and the Indyref Novel. In: Pittin-Hédon M, Manfredi C & Hames S (eds.) Scottish Writing After Devolution: Edges of the New. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press. https://edinburghuniversitypress.com/book-scottish-writing-after-devolution.html

Abstract
This chapter examines the first wave of indyref novels, registering the passions and divisions of the 2014 referendum on Scottish independence. Drawing on Amanda Anderson’s Bleak Liberalism, it examines fictions by Allan Cameron, Effie Deans, Kirstin Innes, Mary McCabe, and Craig Smith, arguing that the modes of social representation we encounter in these texts mirror the plebiscite which inspired them. These novels tend to reproduce indyref’s tendencies toward massified speech and reified group identity, and their novelistic failures are as interesting as their historical content. Though indyref was made possible through the success of Scotland’s admirably inclusive strain of liberal nationalism, the culture of argument that defined the political novel in English – argument as a ‘lived relation’ between liberal political subjects, compromising and compromised – is seldom to be found in this fiction. Instead, dramatic interest centres on the instrumental chessboard and its word-games, a Great Debate elevated to its own discursive ‘sovereignty’, unmarked by human dialogue or ethical doubt. Straining for narrative and emotional resolution, indyref fiction mirrors the echo-chambers of contemporary social media even as they resort to weak allegory and didactic archetypes drawn from the pre-history of the modern novel.

Keywords
indyref, scottish literature, scottish independence, scottish politics, devolution, contemporary literature

Notes
Output Status: Forthcoming

StatusIn Press
Publication date online30/04/2022
URLhttp://hdl.handle.net/1893/32125
PublisherEdinburgh University Press
Publisher URLhttps://edinburghuniversitypress.com/…-devolution.html
Place of publicationEdinburgh
ISBN9781474486170