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Kailyard School, The

Beside the Bonnie Briar Bush, The Stickit Minister, The House with the Green Shutters

scottish popular fiction village

originally referring to the work of a number of Scottish novelists, notably J. M. Barrie, Ian Maclaren (pseudonym of John Watson, 18501907), and S. R. Crockett (18591914), the term ‘Kailyard’ has latterly been descriptive of the tendency to sentimentally hackneyed Scottishness in books, newspapers, and other media. The expression, which means ‘cabbage-patch’ in the Scots vernacular, was first used to denote critical disparagement by J. H. Millar (18641929) in attacking the sentimentality, moral platitudinousness, and banal characterization of these authors' presentations of Scottish village life. Typifying examples of the genre are Maclaren's stories in Beside the Bonnie Briar Bush (1894) and Crockett's The Stickit Minister (1893). Such fiction was highly popular during much of the 1890s; its deficiencies prompted a reaction initiated by George Douglas Brown, whose The House with the Green Shutters (1901) repudiates the endemic cosiness of the Kailyard idiom through its harshly realistic treatment of the village of Barbie. While the mode remains current in certain forms of popular fiction, it has been regarded as the epitome of all that serious Scottish literature in the twentieth century has sought to avoid. See also Scottish Renaissance.

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