Kennedy and Boyd

Mary Queen of Scots
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By Morrison, N. Brysson. With an Introduction by Sarah Dunnigan.
ISBN 1849210837
SERIES Scottish Life Writing
Paperback  322 pages
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Published 25 November 2010
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In one of the last sonnets attributed to Mary, Queen of Scots, who was facing execution, are the questions: 'Alas what am I? What use has been my life?' Nancy Brysson Morrison's biography of Scotland's ill-fated queen, first published in 1960, seeks to address these questions if not to fully answer them. Brysson Morrison's novelistic portrait of Mary is a sympathetic but non-sentimental reading of the political and religious intrigues that slowly surrounded the young queen whom history has previously positioned as either scarlet woman or saint. Brysson Morrison's Mary Queen of Scots is distinctive in its decision to attempt to restore a sense of perspective and give a balanced picture of this infamous and troubled figure of Scotland's history. As Sarah Dunnigan, author of Eros and Poetry at the Courts of Mary, Queen of Scots and James VI, points out in her introduction: 'Whether revered or vilified, Mary inspired controversy, and continues to do so.' The reappearance of this unique unconventional biography is therefore a welcome addition to the evolving understanding of the Marian story.

Sarah Dunnigan teaches in the Department of English Literature at Edinburgh University. She has written about Mary, Queen of Scots, medieval and Renaissance Scottish literature, Scottish ballads and fairy tales, and twentieth-century Scottish women writers.

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