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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.
Price: £8.95.
ISBN 978-0-948877-53-7

Hardback edition: £25.00
ISBN 978-0-948877-52-0

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.