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Robert Louis Stevenson and Scottish Calvinism


Robert Louis Stevenson and Scottish Calvinism

Lim, Mun Loong Jeremy (2008) Robert Louis Stevenson and Scottish Calvinism. Masters thesis, Concordia University.

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This thesis researches Stevenson's Protestant inheritance and the ways in which the Calvinist doctrine of predestination is incorporated in his major Scottish historical novels. Chapter 1 draws on biographical accounts of Stevenson and the writer's commentary on Scottish Calvinism to discuss his critical views of religious doctrine and literary writing. I argue that Stevenson's essay on John Knox sensitizes us to the writer's attitudes towards the tension between moral narration and folklore. The tension is then examined in Chapter 2, where I analyze the Calvinist professionals portrayed in Kidnapped and Catriona who are committed to encouraging the Scots to narrate and adapt their identities and traditions in alignment with Scotland's quest for cultural autonomy. I argue that this novel endorses predestination within a legalistic context. In particular, Catriona idealizes a complex of judicial functions by associating self-censorship and professionalism with the possibility of attaining agency and individuality. Chapter 3 explains that Stevenson's writing in The Master of Ballantrae questions a professional system of predestination as embodied in the memoirs of a Calvinist land steward. I argue that Stevenson's writing inhabits the steward's deterministic perspective to poignantly archive remnants of Scotland's local traditions. Stevenson's Scottish novels represent an aspiration to bridge professional narration and vernacular traditions that involves associating Presbyterianism with pastoral imagery. In Chapter 4, I argue that this dream co-exists with the writer's recognition that only remnants of the past can be preserved.

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Arts and Science > English
Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Authors:Lim, Mun Loong Jeremy
Pagination:v, 88 leaves ; 29 cm.
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:M.A.
Thesis Supervisor(s):Miller, John
Identification Number:LE 3 C66E54M 2008 L56
ID Code:976055
Deposited By: Concordia University Library
Deposited On:22 Jan 2013 16:19
Last Modified:13 Jul 2020 20:09
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