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This book suggests an interpretation of the characteristic qualities of Scottish and American literatures. Considering the self-consciously different stance which sets them apart from English literature, the author develops the constituents of the 'puritan-provincial vision': a particular way of looking at life and man's relationship to what lies beyond himself. The book begins with the writings of Calvin and culminates in detailed comparisons of individual works of Scottish and American nineteenth-century prose, questioning the literary and human consequences of this vision through theological, philosophical, political and literary contexts. This puritan-provincial vision is not exclusive to Scottish and American literature so the features discussed here will interest those concerned with other literatures written in English.