Pointed Encounters

Pointed Encounters: Dance in Post-Culloden Scottish Literature


Pointed Encounters establishes the literary significance of representations of dance in poetry, song, dance manuals, and fiction written between 1750 and 1830. Presenting original readings of canonical texts and fresh readings of neglected but significant literary works, this book traces the complicated role of social dancing in Scottish culture and identifies the hitherto unexplored motif of dance as an outwardly conforming, yet covertly subversive, expression of Scottish identity during the period. The volume draws upon diverse yet mutually revealing texts, from traditional dance and music to Sir Walter Scott and contemporary Scottish women novelists, to offer students and scholars of Scottish and English literature a fresh insight into the socio-cultural context of the British state after 1746.

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Anne McKee Stapleton is a lecturer at the University of Iowa, where she teaches in the Department of English. Her primary areas of research and teaching include eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Scottish literature, Victorian fiction, and women’s narratives of quest and transformation. She earned her PhD at the University of Iowa and is a Member of the British Association of Teachers of Dance, Highland Branch.
“The study is two-pronged, with the first half of the book focusing on the social practice of dance and the second on representations of dancing and dances in early nineteenth-century fiction. […] Asking for more is, of course itself an indication of how much this book has to offer. In this enjoyable and informative survey of the role of dance in the early nineteenth-century Scottish novel, Stapleton has expanded the contexts for talking about the ‘national tale’ and concepts of national identity.” - Pam Perkins, University of Manitoba, in: Scottish Literary Review 7.2 (2015), pp. 176-7
Chapter One. The Strathspey as National Expression in Eighteenth-Century Song and Poetry
Chapter Two. Masterful Narratives: Policing the Public Body and Positioning the Practice of National Dance
Chapter Three. Choreographing Character, 1814-1815: The New Scottish Novels of Walter Scott and Christian Isobel Johnstone
Chapter Four. Unauthorised Women in Scottish Novels, 1814-1824: Social Dance, Fictional Outings, and National Concerns
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