Scottish Literary Review is the leading international print journal for Scottish literary studies, committed to approaching Scottish literature in an expansive way through exploration of its various social, cultural, historical and philosophical contexts, and of literary forms, both traditional and new. We are interested in comparative work with literatures from beyond Scotland, the interaction of literature with expressive media such as theatre and film, and in encouraging debate on issues of contemporary significance related to Scottish literary studies, so that SLR is both responsive to, and creative of, new readings and approaches. The journal is listed in the MLA International Bibliography and from 2013 onwards is accessible online via Project MUSE.
The content of the essays in this autumn/winter issue ranges widely from the scatological satire of late medieval and early modern poetry to the poetics of the Romantic love lyric and the tender Marian iconography of George Mackay Brown. In different ways, though, each piece is concerned with the absorption of the past within the present. In the hot June sunshine of this year, David Lyndsay's Ane Satire of the Three Estates was resurrected in a remarkable new staging. The first professional production of the full text since the performances of 1552 and 1554, it came to life again within the evocative spaces of Linlithgow Peel, Linlithgow Palace, and Stirling Castle. In his essay, Greg Walker, a member of the academic team who worked in collaboration with the director Gregory Thompson, the AandBC Theatre Company, and Historic Scotland, reflects on how and why this new version generates different artistic and political implications from Tyrone Guthrie's famous 1948 staging. The piece suggests what might be gleaned from experiencing afresh the Satire's potent social and political brew in terms of our understanding of the Scottish Renaissance court and civic cultures which fostered it, and the possible cultural and political resonances it holds for us now. The satirical, polemical energies of later medieval Scottish culture also surface in David Salter's exploration of the neglected anonymous poem, The Freiris of Berwik. This, too, is a comic laceration of various kinds of authority, spiked with the resonances of its location and setting in the eponymous town, but it is also revealed as a text which skilfully reassimilates and transforms its earlier Chaucerian and European models. Its topical comic satire therefore works more powerfully through this framework of comparative imaginative precedent and allusion. And if more proof be needed of the rebarbative, resistant spirit [End Page v] of the earlier period, then it is found in David Stevenson's essay which presents a new case for William Drummond of Hawthornden's authorship of Polemo-Middinia, a riotous poem full of carnivalesque subversions of geographical, bodily, and linguistic borderlines. In so doing, Stevenson suggests that the work can also be seen as a careful, politically encoded poem, accruing new meaning when it was revised and republished during a period of civil war and therefore making it 'a remarkable anomaly in the Scottish print culture of this troubled age'.
The essays by Adam White and Linden Bicket turn to the subjects of Romantic poetry and late twentieth-century fiction. Refining our awareness of how John Clare, the Northamptonshire poet, engaged with Scottish poetry, White identifies how Burns was a 'crucial precedent' for Clare, especially in his practice as a love lyricist. He charts the 'hybrid power' of Burnsian poetic imprints across the emotional and psychological landscapes of this strand of Clare's work. Discussion of cultural precedent and literary strategy are also melded in Linden Bicket's account of iconography and symbolism in what she considers 'the highpoint of George Mackay Brown's Marian oeuvre', Time in a Red Coat (1984). Drawing on new archival material, her essay explores how Mackay Brown's work imaginatively syncretises the Virgin's global cultural resonances as well as an indigenous Catholic past. As always in the autumn/winter issue, opinions and reflections on new publications in the field — editions, essay collections, individual studies — are gathered in a substantial Reviews section.
At the time of going to press, we learnt of the death...