Dryasdust Antiquarianismand Soppy Masculinity:The Waverley Novels andthe Gender of History
apra has been arguing
for some time now thatrelationshipsbetweencontemporaryhistoriansandtheirobjectsof inquiryarefun-damentally transferential and, ideally, ‘‘dialogic.’’
Historians narcissistically proj-ect their discipline’s controversiesonto the past, and when thingsgo well, the past’sirreducibility to the termsof such controversiesvoicesitself, disruptingthose termstothepointthathistoriansunderstandboththe pastand theirdisciplinedi
erently.If we provisionallyaccept LaCapra’s modelof the ideal historian—the historianas‘‘
case,’’ ashe oncecharacterizedit—then wemightarguethatforcontem-porary historians of the discipline of history, one of the most disruptive dialoguesoughttooccurwhenstudyinganinuentialpredecessorwhopracticesandportraysotherkindsof transferentialhistory. Particularlyprovocativewouldbethe dialoguewith a predecessor who idealizes transferences with the past that involve the mate-rialrealmofthebodyasmuchastheydothe‘‘mental’’realmofdisciplinarycontro- versy. Such a dialogue would add a more blatantly physical component to scenesthat we had grown accustomed to perceiving as just talking, perhaps complicatingthe view that the hallmark of modern historicism’s development was the rise of adialogic relationship to the past. Indeed, if this earlier transferential history wereimplicated in its age’s own disciplinary controversies over history, it would inevita-bly alter our understanding of the discipline’s history as well.This essay initiates such revisions through a reading of Sir Walter Scott’s
(1816), among the most popular of Scott’s immensely popular WaverleyNovels during the nineteenth century (so solid was the novel’s canonization by the
This essay attempts to widen the discursive contexts through which scholars understandRomantic historicism andtherole of WalterScott’sWaverleyNovelsin its development.PlacingScott’s
(1816) and ‘‘Dedicatory Epistle’’ to
(1819) in dialogue with contemporaneous verbal and visual discourse over antiquaries, Edmund Burke, and the Lady Hamilton a
air, the essay proposes thatRomantic historicism disciplined bodies as it dened and authorized new forms of knowledge. Romantichistoricists perceived the ability to relate to and know the past properly as dependent on the manliness of the historical thinker’s sentimental and sexual constitution. Thus, the era’s arguments over the legitimacyof di
erent forms of historical inquiry, as well as over the historical novel’s cultural authority in relationto the eld of history, frequently became contests over the manliness and sensibility of their practition-ers’ bodies. / Representations 82. Spring 2003
The Regentsof theUniversity of California.
0734-6018 pages 52–86. All rights reserved. Send requests for permission to reprint to Rights and Permissions,University of California Press, Journals Division, 2000 Center St., Ste. 303, Berkeley, CA 94704-1223.