Bards, Britishness, Buildings and Cultural Memory

  • Ian Brown


This chapter explores the canonisation process of ‘national bards’. It examines the complementary development as national poets of William Shakespeare and Robert Burns, their enshrinement and memorialisation by monuments and statues inaugurated by large-scale public ceremonies and performance events. In the figure of Shakespeare, it identifies blurring of the distinction between Englishness and Britishness. In those of Burns and Walter Scott, even within a British unionist perspective, a distinctive ‘Scottishness’ has been developed. Performing the memorialisation and monumentalisation of cultural heroes, and even the design of townscapes and streetscapes, supports varieties of cultural nationalism. This, in the case of Scotland, is equally capable of being Unionist Nationalist or focused on the conception of a Scottish identity separate from that of England.


William Shakespeare Robert Burns National bards Memorialisation Monumentalisation Edinburgh New Town 

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ian Brown
    • 1
  1. 1.Kingston UniversityLondonUK

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