Home > Publications > Books > Annual Volumes > Clan-Albin
Annual Volume 32 (2002)
a national tale
Christian Isobel Johnstone
Edited by Andrew Monnickendam
Published in: Paperback.
By: Association for
Scottish Literary Studies, Glasgow, May 2003.
Hardback edition: £25.00
Christian Isobel Johnstone, called ‘the brave-hearted lady’ by Thomas
Carlyle, was editor for more than a decade of Tait’s Edinburgh Magazine,
a journal famous for its vigorous liberal viewpoints and incisive literary reviews.
In 1815 Johnstone also became the author of one of the most extraordinary novels of
the Romantic era, Clan-Albin. The story is centred around the childhood and
adolescence of its orphan hero, Norman Macalbin, who leaves the poverty of the
Highlands to volunteer for the army and journey in Ireland and Spain: but throughout
the novel it is the voices of the strong female characters — Lady Augusta,
Monimia, Flora and others — that we hear most clearly. These bring to us
Johnstone’s lament for the loss of Highland culture and scorn for the emergent
southern mercantile classes, and portray war as a terrible tragedy whose
glorification is unforgivable. Written in the year of Waterloo, Clan-Albin
is a unique Scottish novel by an outstanding and neglected female voice.
Cover illustration: ‘Flora MacDonald’, Allan Ramsay
(1713-1784). Illustration courtesy of the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford.
Cover design: Mark Blackadder
Last updated 9 August 2010.