Scotland was a leader of the world-changing industrialisation of the nineteenth century and a world-beating exporter of romantic nationalism—through the writings of Macpherson, Burns, and Scott—and scientific ideas and innovation (e.g. James Hutton, and Lord Kelvin). And yet, besides shipbuilding, textiles, mining and transport, the cultural significance of Scotland’s past could be easily taken for granted. While recent work on the long nineteenth century—whose parameters for our purposes begin with the founding of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland in 1780 to the beginning of the First World War—has revised the tired notion that ‘Scottishness’ was effectively decoupled from politics and consigned to the domain of folklore and nostalgia (Mackenzie and Devine, 2012; Carruthers, Goldie, and Renfrew, 2012), monographs on European cultures and histories of the nineteenth century are still written from a broad European perspective, and the Scottish experience with its European neighbours is often relegated to the sidelines of the analysis or narrative, if present at all (see, for example, Richard Evans, 2017, or Hannu Salmi, 2008).
Written by Henriette Partzsch, Katharine Mitchell, and Michael Rapport