Scots and their English studies

I just wanted to point out that its really pretty messed up that english speakers think that their own works aren’t worthy of study. Did other countries do the same thing with their native literature? I also think it’s cool that the study of English lit was a way for scots to improve themselves, and that they then brought it to colonized nations to teach them British values and customs. I’m left wondering what works they chose to represent themselves. Any ideas?

3 thoughts on “Scots and their English studies

  1. Branching off of Reilly’s reply, the British probably weren’t surprised when the Scottish latched onto English literature as a way of cultural betterment, but the Scottish interest in English studies may have sparked greater interest for the British in their own literature. Also, I think it interesting that although English studies became a discipline in part as a tool for colonization and reaching out to non-English groups, it remains an interest of the English, not foreigners (Richter, 26).

  2. The Bible.

    But seriously, I don’t think it’s as simple as English people didn’t think their own works were /worthy/ of study – I’m sure they weren’t surprised when Scottish people picked it up and thought that ingratiating themselves into high English culture was as a way to improve their social standing. Rather I think it reflects that Britain was beginning to look outward at that time /and/ that all of the important people in Britain had already Chaucer.

    I’m not sure what all of the nations being conquered in that century read beforehand, but we know from the text that at least somewhat recently in our own country (Why We Read, p. 21), course readings in the humanities are starting to reflect the experience of women and minorities or other oppressed peoples, instead of the POV of the traditional ruling class. And we aren’t alone:

    “Thus, one of the most difficult tasks facing the Indian subcontinent is to free all scholarship concerning its development and its relationship to the world from the biased formulations and distortions of colonially-influenced authors…” (

  3. I guess the Scots could have used some of Paolo Friere’s Banking Concept… Ironically, teaching colonized peoples English literature probably made the colonized people feel their own works weren’t worthy of study too, at least if you agree with Matthew Arnold that literature could unite and control the masses.

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