Planting the nation’s "Waste Lands": Walter Scott, forestry and the cultivation of Scotland’s wilderness

Oliver, S 2009, 'Planting the nation’s "Waste Lands": Walter Scott, forestry and the cultivation of Scotland’s wilderness' , Literature Compass, 6 (3) , pp. 585-598.

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In October 1827 the Quarterly Review included a review of the second edition of Robert Monteath's guide to foresters, The Planter's Guide and Profitable Planter. The review was published anonymously according to custom, but the author was Sir Walter Scott. A keen amateur plantsman who would later be involved in producing official reports on tree husbandry in Scotland, Scott¿s interest in ecology, forestry and the cultural value of landscape was of longstanding. He had spent a small fortune on trees for his Abbotsford estate, and the cost had contributed to his insolvency in 1826. The present article looks at Scott's review as a work of Romantic ecocritism concerned with the relationships between nationhood, economics and natural sustainability. Definitions of waste land are considered, and the use of literary references to emphasize the need for sustainable planting is explored along with debates over imported Canadian species of Pine. The cultural exchange of trees for people is shown to raises interesting questions, as is the advent of the railways that Scott ignores in his essay despite his interest in that new form of transport.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Short Biography of the author (published with article): Susan Oliver’s research and teaching interests are in Romantic period literature and culture. She has published articles on Walter Scott, Lord Byron, and on transatlantic studies and the periodical press. The British Academy awarded her the Rose Mary Crawshay Prize in 2007 for her book, Scott, Byron and the Poetics of Cultural Encounter (London and New York, NY: Palgrave Macmillan, 2005). Susan is currently writing a further book, which is a comparative study of periodicals in Britain and North America in the early nineteenth century. She serves as an executivemember of the British Association for Romantic Studies, editing theBARS website and the BARS Bulletin and Review. Susan holds a B.A. (Hons) in English and European Literature from the University of Essex and a Ph.D. from The University of Cambridge. She lectures in English at the University of Salford and is a Senior Member of Wolfson College, University of Cambridge. Susan Oliver can also be contacted by email at:
Themes: Subjects / Themes > P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN0441 Literary History
Subjects / Themes > P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN0080 Criticism
Subjects / Themes > Q Science > QK Botany
Subjects / Themes > P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General)
Subjects / Themes > S Agriculture > SD Forestry
Subjects / Themes > Q Science > QH Natural history
Memory, Text and Place
Subjects outside of the University Themes
Schools: Schools > School of Humanities, Languages & Social Sciences
Journal or Publication Title: Literature Compass
Publisher: Wiley
Refereed: Yes
ISSN: 1741-4113
Depositing User: S Oliver
Date Deposited: 26 Nov 2009 10:15
Last Modified: 16 Feb 2022 08:53

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