Faculty Research at Morehead State University


Tinto, Pattieson, and the Theories of Pictorial and Dramatic Representation in Scott's "The Bride of Lammermoor"

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SCOTT'S THE BRIDE OF LAMMERMOOR explores the conflict between two modes of private representation, between a superficially romantic idealization that creates fantasy out of static pictorial images and a mode of pragmatic assessment that continually renegotiates its private views in order to accommodate change in the external world. What makes The Bride such an interesting novel is its exploration of the viability of the two modes of perception through a debate over artistic expression in an introduction that serves as a paradigm for the novel's story. The novel presents the fictional development of character and plot, the story of the mismatched love of Lucy Ashton and Ravenswood, as an illustration of its introduction's dramatic debate about the effectiveness of applying the strategies of painting to narrative. The introduction, a metafictional frame in which the narrator evaluates and condemns the very mode of thought that the novel examines in its hero and heroine, trans- forms a highly conventional tale of romance into an examination of our means of representing reality to ourselves, an examination of how those representational modes connect us to or separate us from the world of action. Scott uses Lucy Ashton's silence and its tragic outcome to demonstrate the inappropriateness of applying the methods of painting to narrative, and to show that the static, pictorial mode of perceiving and imagining constitutes a fatally isolating manner of private representation