For more than a century, the word 'Kailyard' has been a focal point of Scottish literary and cultural debate. Originally a term of literary criticism, it has come to be used, often pejoratively, across a whole range of academic and popular discourse. Historians, politicians and critics of Scottish film and media have joined literary scholars in using the term to set out a diagnosis of Scottish culture.
This is the first comprehensive study of the subject. Andrew Nash traces the origins of the Kailyard diagnosis in the nineteenth century and considers the critical concerns that gave rise to it. He then provides a full reassessment of the literature most commonly associated with the term - the fiction of J.M. Barrie, S.R. Crockett and Ian Maclaren. Placing this work in more appropriate contexts, he considers the literary, social and religious imperatives that underpinned it and discusses the impact of these writers in the publishing world.
These chapters are succeeded by detailed analysis of the various ways in which the term has been used in wider discussions of Scottish literature and culture. Discussing literary criticism, film studies, and political and sociological analyses of Scotland, Nash shows how Kailyard, as a critical term, helps expose some of the key issues in Scottish cultural debate in the twentieth century, including discussions over national representation, popular culture and the parochialism of Scottish culture.