While political connections between Ireland and Scotland have been vigorously promoted in recent years, Ray Ryan presents the first sustained, comparative study of literature and culture from both sites. Ryan's focus is on the Irish state and the Scottish nation. How does literature from theRepublic create the cultural shape and personality of the Irish state? Through comparison with Scotland, a stateless nation, Ryan argues that crucial themes in Irish culture emerge with new force and clarity: themes such as Republicanism and colonialism, the city and rural divide, and the partitionof the island into separate 'southern' and 'northern' spheres. Analysing a broad range of Irish and Scottish literary texts, Ryan shifts attention from the traditionally defined canon of Irish culture, and establishes the relevance of Scotland for any future discussion of Irish cultural contexts.Offering a radical intervention across a range of disciplines, this book is essential reading for all those working on Ireland, on Scotland, and on contemporary English and British culture.