Scottish Books in History - Timelines of Literature
A list of Scottish novels set during the height of the Roman Empire. Scotland famously held out against the mighty Roman armies, so many of these Scottish novels are set in Britain or in Rome.
Our middle ages fiction list covers a broad period of time, roughly from the 5th to the early 15th centuries. It packs in a lot of history - this was the time of Macbeth and William Wallace, of Robert the Bruce and the beginnings of the Stewart dynasty.
Novels set during the Reign of Scotland's most famous and romantic Queens, Mary. Our period covers her coronation in 1543, aged just nine months, to her abdication in 1567, and onwards until her death in 1587.
The Jacobite Risings of the late 17th and early 18th centuries are a key part of Scotland's history, and the religious divides it highlighted split families, friendships, clans and kings. Some of Scotland's most enduring figures were born from the turmoil of the Jacobite Risings, and classic novels such as Waverley, Kidnapped and Quest for a Kelpie are set during or immediately after the decisive Battle of Culloden in 1745.
Key Scottish Novels of the Jacobite Rebellions
During the late 18th and early 19th centuries, thousands of Highland Scots were forced out of their crofts to make way for large-scale sheep grazing. The reasons behind and the impact of the Highland Clearances are still being debated by historians, but the subject has proven to be fertile ground for Scottish novelists like Kathleen Fidler and Neil M Gunn.
The British Empire was at its height during the Victorian Era and while the Scottish identity was being shaped by tartanry, Balmoral and Queen Victoria's Highland holidays, Scots themselves were travelling the world building and cataloguing the Empire. Our Victoria fiction list features historical crime fiction and classic novels from RL Stevenson and Margaret Oliphant.
The key pre-war novel from Scotland is The Thirty-Nine Steps by John Buchan. At a time of immense technological and cultural change, what other novels are set during 1900 - 1914?
Our list of first world war fiction is very short - key titles include the later Richard Hannay novels from John Buchan, and Lewis Grassic Gibbon's Sunset Song.
Our list of inter-war fiction contains a mixture of novels from the heady days of the 1920s, such as Catriona McPherson's Dandy Gliver series, and more serious books about the Great Depression and the rise of the Nazi movement in Germany.
Key Scottish Novels Set Between 1919 and 1939
An extensive list of novels set during the second world war. Our top four Scottish WW2 novels are below, and our complete WWII list has sections for fiction and children's novels.
Key Scottish World War 2 Novels
While it would be a huge challenge to start creating lists of all contemporary Scottish fiction, perhaps there is still value in separating out 'post war' from other late 20th-century novels. This list features fiction set roughly from the end of World War 2 until the end of general rationing in 1954.
Other Time Periods
What other time periods should we cover? We could have a list of pre-history fiction set in Scotland, such as The Boy with the Bronze Axe or The Gathering Night. What about Roman-era Scotland, such as The Eagle of the Ninth? We'll definitely need a list of fiction set during the Jacobite revolutions. Email the editor with your suggestions.
There will by necessity be crossovers between different time frames - the Highland Clearances will span both Regency and Victorian Scotland; the Jacobite Rebellions were concurrent with the Scottish Enlightenment but will be featured separately.