RINGAN GILHAIZE; OR THE COVENANTERS. By the Author of "Annals of the Parish," "Sir Andrew Wylie," "The Entail," &c. ... In Three Volumes. John Galt.

RINGAN GILHAIZE; OR THE COVENANTERS. By the Author of "Annals of the Parish," "Sir Andrew Wylie," "The Entail," &c. ... In Three Volumes. Edinburgh: Printed for Oliver & Boyd, High Street; and G. and W. B. Whittaker, London, 1823. 12mo, pp. [1-4] [1] 2-308 [309-312: blank]; [1-4] [1] 2-324; [1-4] [1] 2-323 [324: printer's imprint], all half title leaves present, original two-part drab boards, printed paper labels affixed to spine panels, untimmed. First edition. "Galt’s writing has undergone a patchy critical reception. Some critics charged him with parochialism and some considered his rendering of ‘coarse Scots’ too ‘vulgar’ for polite tastes. Other regarded Galt simply as a comic writer and failed to perceive his wider historical and sociological intentions. A novel such as RINGAN GILHAIZE (1823), described in 1897 by Sir George Douglas as “a neglected masterpiece,” gives the lie to such assessments. The nineteenth-century reviewer, Francis Jeffrey, criticized the novel for its gloomy atmosphere. But in this book Galt made a radical departure from the tone of his past works in an historical novel that is intended to shock rather than entertain. RINGAN GILHAIZE is comparable with James Hogg’s earlier PRIVATE MEMOIRS AND CONFESSIONS OF A JUSTIFIED SINNER (1824), which describes the effects of religious fanaticism. The psychological precision of Galt’s depiction of the eventual demise of his central protagonist, Ringan, was part of Galt’s larger desire to investigate the private motives animating the Covenanting movement and the spirit that ignited the religious controversies of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. The novel, which is ultimately a plea for moderation and good sense, eschews partisanship, and depicts incidents of generosity and compassion on both sides. In this novel, arguably more than any other, Galt turned his attention to the psychology of the Scottish race and attempted to analyze the tragedy of its recent history. It deals with the themes of community, loyalty, religious and legal justice and with violence as a begetter of further violence. The novel illustrates Galt’s engagement with the philosophies of the Scottish enlightenment and particularly Francis Hutcheson’s theories of man’s innate moral sense as developed in the movement known as the Scottish Commonsense School. It is, in the final analysis, testimony to Galt’s greatest skills as a writer; as an acute observer of human psychology, an acute as well as philosophical historian, and a faithful recorder of the Scottish voice and experience." - BBC Two, Writing Scotland. Block, The English Novel 1740-1850, p. 81. Garside, Raven and Schöwerling 1823: 34. Wolff 2399. Spine panels chipped, two paper labels chipped with some loss, paper tape repair to crown of volume one, but a sound, very good copy with all the half title leaves and the two terminal blanks in volume one. Not an uncommon book, but now scarce in its original binding. (#164542).

Price: $450.00

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