Keith M. Costain (essay date 1980)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Costain, Keith M. “The Spirit of the Age and the Scottish Fiction of John Galt.” Wordsworth Circle 11, no. 2 (spring 1980): 98-106.

[In the following essay, Costain describes Galt's positive representation of industrial progress in his prose fiction.]

Unlike most novelists in the early nineteenth century, John Galt was concerned with contemporary social problems. As an essayist, a novelist, and a Scot, he was fully aware of the implications of the industrialism that had transformed at least the lowlands of Scotland from “an utterly impoverished country to a prosperous land.”1 In an interconnected series of novels that he wrote in the 1820s...

(The entire section is 8484 words.)

George V. Griffith (essay date 1980)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Griffith, George V. “John Galt's Short Fiction Series.” Studies in Short Fiction 17, no. 4 (fall 1980): 455-62.

[In the following essay, Griffith considers generic difficulties related to Galt's fiction and his role in the early formation of the realist short story.]

When Brander Matthews proclaimed the existence of the short story in 1884, he created a literary problem as much historical as generic, for in defining the genre he placed it in literary history and thus set off the search for literary precedents. The search has been particularly fruitful in Studies in Short Fiction, yielding virtually a complete history of English short...

(The entire section is 3938 words.)

Elizabeth Waterston (essay date 1980)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Waterston, Elizabeth. “John Galt's Canadian Experience: The Scottish Strain.” Studies in Scottish Literature 15 (1980): 257-62.

[In the following essay, Waterston discusses Galt's unromantic, middle-class novel Bogle Corbet as it illustrates qualities of Canadian and Scottish life.]

“Vertical Mosaic” is a phrase happily adopted by many critics and historians to explain the quality of Canadian life. “Mosaic” refers to the notion that the individual pieces, the ethnic groups and sub-groups, tend to hold their shape, keep their colour, rather than to melt and meld into “One Nation, Indivisible.” “Vertical” alludes to the fact that...

(The entire section is 2231 words.)

Keith M. Costain (essay date 1981)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Costain, Keith M. “The Community of Man: Galt and Eighteenth-Century Scottish Realism.” Scottish Literary Journal 8, no. 1 (May 1981): 10-29.

[In the following essay, Costain investigates Galt's indebtedness to the social, moral, and historical thought of the Scottish Realists.]

When, in The Ayrshire Legatees, the Rev. Dr Pringle arrives in London on top of a coach he fears for his clerical dignity. But his fears prove groundless, in more than a literal sense, for, as he reports to his Session Clerk in the village of Garnock: ‘although the multitude of bygoers was like the kirk-skailing at the Sacrament, I saw not a kent face, nor one that took the...

(The entire section is 8028 words.)

J. D. McClure (essay date 1981)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: McClure, J. D. “The Language of The Entail.Scottish Literary Journal 8, no. 1 (May 1981): 30-51.

[In the following essay, McClure details Galt's use of Scots dialect to delineate his characters and realistically depict eighteenth-century Scottish society in The Entail.]

The Entail was regarded by John Galt as his masterpiece; and one of its most outstanding features is the author's skill in handling the western rural dialect of Scots. The finest Scots dialogue in Galt's work—indeed, some of the best in all Scottish literature—is to be found in this book. The contribution which this makes to the success of the novel is twofold. As is...

(The entire section is 9483 words.)

Patricia J. Wilson (essay date 1985)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Wilson, Patricia J. “John Galt at Work: Comments on the MS. of Ringan Gilhaize.Studies in Scottish Literature 20 (1985): 160-76.

[In the following essay, Wilson offers a stylistic analysis of Ringan Gilhaize, illuminated by Galt's manuscript of the novel.]

In 1969 Ian Gordon discovered the MS. of John Galt's novel Ringan Gilhaize in the Edinburgh offices of the publishers Oliver & Boyd.1 There it had probably lain since the publication of the three volumes on 2 May 1823. By arrangement with Oliver & Boyd the MS. on its rediscovery was deposited in the National Library of Scotland where I have been able to consult...

(The entire section is 5753 words.)

Ian A. Gordon (essay date 1989)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Gordon, Ian A. “Galt's The Ayrshire Legatees: Genesis and Development.” Scottish Literary Journal 16, no. 1 (May 1989): 35-42.

[In the following essay, Gordon comments on Galt's popular novel The Ayrshire Legatees and the revisions it underwent in the transition from periodical publication to novel form.]


John Galt's first published Scottish novel made its initial appearance in monthly instalments from June 1820 to February 1821 in Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine. The editor, ‘Christopher North’, announced in the magazine the following year that the series (‘the very best that ever had been in any...

(The entire section is 3036 words.)