Posted on Thursday 7th November 2013
Sebastian Mitchell's 'Visions of Britain, 1730-1830', published in May 2013 by Palgrave MacMillan, has been shortlisted for the Scottish Research Book of the Year 2013 awarded by the Saltire Society.
The book is an inquiry into the literary and visual representation of Great Britain in the eighteenth century and early nineteenth century, and considers the inter-relationship of text and image for the purposes of national projection. It analyses an extensive range of poems, novels, journals, drawings, satirical prints, portraits, landscapes, and history paintings.
The study follows recent discussions of Anglo-Scottish writing in this period in the attempt to determine the salient characteristics of the imaginative depiction of the Kingdom of Britain, but challenges their more confident claims for the development of a progressive integrated nationhood. It argues instead that the most engaging literary and visual accounts of Britain in this era subject their imagery to extensive artistic pressure, threatening to dismantle the national vision at the moment of its construction.