International Companion to Scottish Poetry
Publication Year: 2016
Published by: Association for Scottish Literary Studies
Title Page, Copyright
Series Editors’ Preface
Ian Brown, Thomas Owen Clancy
When in 2009 the first of the series of Companions to Scottish Literature under our editorship appeared under the aegis of the Edinburgh University Press, we had a vision of the scope and range of the series which extended to nineteen potential volumes, some based on literary periods, some on overarching themes and some on specific authors. As the years passed...
A Note on the Text
When Liz Lochhead was appointed Scots Makar – National Poet for Scotland – in 2011, she formally accepted her new role ‘on behalf of poetry itself, which’, she explained, ‘is, and always has been, the core of our culture, and in grateful recognition of the truth that poetry – the reading of it, the writing of it, the saying it out loud, the learning of it off by heart...
PART 1: Languages and Chronologies
Chapter One. Early Celtic Poetry (to 1500)
Thomas Owen Clancy
The contribution of the Celtic languages to the poetry of Scotland is arguably the earliest and, certainly in the case of Gaelic, the most sustained of all Scotland’s languages. Despite this, the situation of any one piece of poetry can often be hard to determine, in terms of the extent to which we would be happy to describe it as ‘Scottish’. Up to and beyond...
Chapter Two. Scots Poetry in the Fourteenth andFifteenth Centuries
R. D. S. Jack
The richness and diversity of late fourteenth- and fifteenth-century Scottish poetry is best understood within appropriately attuned critical contexts. These should be attentive to its European influences, the nature of its linguistic and dialectal range, which frustrates any assumption that this poetic culture represents a victory of Scots over English...
Chapter Three. Poetry in Latin
Early in the second century ad, the Roman satirist Juvenal joked that ‘Thule’ (often taken to mean the northern tip of Scotland) was talking of hiring a rhetorician.2 If poets had then followed rhetoricians, as was not unknown in ancient Rome, and if Roman control of northern Britannia had been prolonged, the story of Scottish Latin poetry might have begun...
Chapter Four. Poetry in the Languages and Dialects of Northern Scotland
Roberta Frank, Brian Smith
At first sight there is not much similarity between the island societies of the Northern Isles of Britain in the twelfth and twentieth centuries, and the verse produced in them. Orkney in the earlier period was an aristocratic community, dominated by some of the most powerful earls in Scandinavia; eight hundred years later, at least until the arrival of...
Chapter Five. The Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries
Sìm Innes, Alessandra Petrina
Gavin Douglas’s Eneados was concluded in 1513; in the same year James IV’s reign reached its apogee, only to conclude disastrously with his attempted invasion of England and his defeat at Flodden. Just as Douglas represents a poet in limine between the medieval, courtly mode and the new humanist interests, so the Battle of Flodden Field...
Chapter Six. The Eighteenth Century
Ronald Black, Gerard Carruthers
Eighteenth-century poetry in Scotland involves us in a rich set of varieties and critical approaches. When in Scots or English, it has been read rather narrowly against the supposed watershed date of 1707 (the Union of the Parliaments), and in Gaelic verse, where there is an obvious correlation between the clan system and the panegyric code, it is only too easy...
Chapter Seven. The Nineteenth Century
Ian Duncan, Sheila Kidd
Although they share certain preoccupations – colonial emigration, the impact of urban and industrial experience, the status of a minority language (in the case of Scots and Gaelic), the transmission and reinvention of traditional forms – poets writing in Scots and English, on one hand, and poets writing in Gaelic, on the other, represent largely divergent...
Chapter Eight. The Poetry of Modernity (1870−1950)
Emma Dymock, Scott Lyall
The city is important to the beginnings of modern Scottish poetry. T. S. Eliot, whose Waste Land portrays the classic modernist city, was influenced by James Thomson (1834−1882) and John Davidson (1857−1909), who, like Eliot, were national outsiders in the English capital. The poetry of both Scots is characterised by pyschogeographical exile, then emerging...
Chapter Nine. Contemporary Poetry (1950–)
Attila Dósa, Michelle Macleod
While Scottish modernism has been described as ‘inter-national’ in the previous chapter, a progressively self-confident transnationalism alongside a self-reflexive hybridisation of the speech forms and cultures of home has characterised poetry since the war. Dialogic engagement with different literatures and languages within and outwith Scotland identifies a number...
PART 2: Poetic Forms
Chapter Ten. The Form of Scottish Gaelic Poetry
Scottish Gaelic (ScG) poetry, as described here, was composed in the Highlands and islands, mostly between the sixteenth and twentieth centuries, and collected between the eighteenth and twentieth centuries. It shares many features with Irish Gaelic poetry composed during the same period. Some Gaelic poetry was composed in ‘Classical Gaelic’...
Chapter Eleven. Scots Poetic Forms
J. Derrick McClure
The range and variety of verse forms which have emerged in the corpus of Scots poetry during its long history is enormous. In the Stewart period, poets such as William Dunbar, Alexander Scott and Alexander Montgomerie experimented with an abundance of metres and stanzas; and by the end of the period James VI, in his poetic manual...
Chapter Twelve. The Ballad in Scots and English
Attempting to capture the evocative power of the traditional Scottish ballad, Willa Muir (1890–1970) wrote, ‘Behind the words and the tune lie spaces of silences in which one feels the presence of mysteries.’ 1 The lyrical ambiguity of ‘spaces of silence’ and ‘presence of mysteries’ in Muir’s description reflects the paradoxes at the heart of this form. Ballads have...
PART 3: Topics and Themes
Chapter Thirteen. Nature, Landscape and Rural Life
Although Scottish poetry abounds in vivid representations of the natural world, twentieth-century Scottish poets have sometimes been reluctant to consider their work as ‘nature poetry’, wary of negative associations with pastoral myth-making or escapism. Scottish literary criticism has also sometimes been distrustful of works foregrounding...
Chapter Fourteen. Nation and Home
Carla Sassi, Silke Stroh
‘Nation’ and ‘home’ point respectively towards distinct ideas of community that are grounded in history/culture and in domestic/affective values; they also share notions of common identity, sense of belonging, and even security. Furthermore, both concepts are shaped, and in their turn shape, a community’s ‘imagination’ 1 of itself, finding their most effective...
Chapter Fifteen. Protest and Politics
Wilson McLeod, Alan Riach
Protest and politics are the provenance of certain forms of poetry, some explicitly engaged as contagious public rhetoric, intended to help bring about action, some more implicit in their political engagement. Scottish poetry is rich in poetic traditions of protest, exemplified in work with specific local and personal reference, or more general reference to national...
Chapter Sixteen. Love and Erotic Poetry
How do I love thee? Let me count the ways. There is a common tendency when dealing with love poetry, as with love, to itemise, taxonomise or dissect. Take two anthologies of Scottish poetry from the 1970s, for example. Antonia Fraser’s 1975 Scottish Love Poems identifies twenty-one distinct groupings: ‘Celebrations of Love’; ‘Wooings’; ‘First Love’...
Chapter Seventeen. Faith and Religion
Meg Bateman, James McGonigal
This chapter deals with traces and erasures in a most perplexing area of human life: the awkward seriousness of faith, past and present, and its otherness. It describes poets writing within the context of a post- Reformation Scotland that was in many ways distrustful of the life of the senses upon which religious liturgy, music and also poetry...
Chapter Eighteen. Scottish Poetry as World Poetry
Scottish poetry might be viewed as belonging to world poetry from a number of perspectives. One might cite its internationalist outlook and readiness to import formal innovation, or stress the universality or global historical relevance of its subject matter. One might, conversely, privilege that which is quintessentially national, assuring Scotland...
Chapter Nineteen. The Literary Environment
Writing poetry may be a solitary act, but reaching an audience has always involved a complex and changing network of what might broadly be called ‘institutions’, which may in fact be another solitary person – typesetter, independent bookseller, magazine editor – or long-established newspapers, publishers, cultural organisations. In order to thread our...
Notes on Contributors
Page Count: 314
Publication Year: 2016
OCLC Number: 944402922
MUSE Marc Record: Download for International Companion to Scottish Poetry