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Association for Scottish Literary Studies
Cross-currents in Scottish Writing in the Nineteenth Century
The nineteenth century saw the romanticisation of the Highlander, the rise of tartanry and the emergence of the modern Scottish tourist industry. It also witnessed the worst excesses of the Clearances and the beginnings of an exodus from the Highlands to the industrial cities and to the colonies. The languages, peoples and cultures of Highland and Lowland Scotland mixed and mingled as never before, influencing and shaping each other in often unexpected ways. Gael and Lowlander in Scottish Literature explores the interactions and intersections between Highland and Lowland poetry, prose, drama and song, in English, Scots and Gaelic. Ranging from Sir Walter Scott to the writers and artists of the fin de siècle Celtic Revival, these fourteen essays show how the crossing and re-crossing of the Highland Line shaped Scottish literature in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, and how it continues to do so today.
Resituating J. M. Barrie
J. M. Barrie (1860–1937) is today known almost exclusively for one work: Peter Pan. Yet he was the most successful British playwright of the early twentieth century, and his novels were once thought equal to those of George Meredith and Thomas Hardy. Although in recent years there has been a revival of interest in Barrie’s writing, many critics still fail to include him in surveys of fin de siècle literature or drama. Perhaps Barrie’s remarkable variety of output has prevented him from being taken to the centre of critical discussions in any one area of literary criticism or history. Is Barrie predominantly a novelist or a playwright? Is he Victorian, Decadent, Edwardian or Modernist? Gateway to the Modern is the very first collection of essays on Barrie which attempts to do justice to the extraordinary range of his literary achievement. What emerges is a significant writer, fully immersed in the literary and intellectual culture of his day.
Edwin Morgan (1920–2010) is one of the giants of modern poetry. Scotland’s national poet from 2004 to his death in 2010, in his long life he produced an incredible range of work, from the playful to the profound. This International Companion gives a comprehensive overview of Morgan’s poetry and drama. A range of expert contributors guide the reader along Morgan’s astonishing, multi-faceted trajectory through space and time, providing students with an essential and accessible general introduction to his life and work.
James Macpherson’s “poems of Ossian”, first published from 1760 as Fragments of Ancient Poetry, were the literary sensation of the age. Attacked by Samuel Johnson and others as “forgeries”, nonetheless the poems enthralled readers around the world, attracting rapturous admiration from figures as diverse as Goethe, Diderot, Jefferson, Bonaparte and Mendelssohn. This International Companion examines the social, political and philosophical context of the poems, their disputed origins, their impact on world literature, and the various critical afterlives of Macpherson and of his literary works.
John Galt (1779–1839) was a contemporary of Sir Walter Scott and Jane Austen, and a friend and biographer of Lord Byron. Although a prolific writer, and much admired in his own lifetime, Galt has never achieved comparable levels of literary fame, and his works – poised between Enlightenment and Romanticism – are now often overlooked. Yet his reputation has been slowly growing, and he has attracted critical interest as both a political novelist and a chronicler of Scottish life. This International Companion builds on a steady stream of recent scholarship, and examines Galt’s writings in the social, economic, and religious contexts of their time.
Lewis Grassic Gibbon (James Leslie Mitchell), the author of the acclaimed trilogy A Scots Quair – Sunset Song, Cloud Howe and Grey Granite – is one of the most important Scottish writers of the early twentieth century. This International Companion provides a thorough overview of Gibbon’s writing. Examining his works within the social, political, and literary developments of his time, this volume demonstrates Gibbon’s continuing relevance both in Scotland and internationally.
A range of leading international scholars provide a comprehensive and accessible introduction to the extraordinary richness and diversity of Scotland’s poetry. Addressing Languages and Chronologies, Poetic Forms, and Topics and Themes, this INTERNATIONAL COMPANION covers the entire subject from the early Middle Ages to the modern day, and considers the connections, influences and interrelations between poetry in English, Gaelic, Latin, Old Norse and Scots.
In 1810 a literary phenomenon swept through Britain, Europe and beyond: the publication of Sir Walter Scott’s epic poem The Lady of the Lake, set in the wild romantic landscape around Loch Katrine and the Trossachs. The world’s first international blockbusting bestseller, in terms of sheer publishing sensation nothing like it was seen until the Harry Potter books. Exploring the potent appeal that links books, places, authors and readers, this collection of eleven essays examines tourism in the Trossachs both before and after 1810, and surveys the indigenous Gaelic culture of the area. It also considers how Sir Walter’s writings responded to the landscape, history and literature of the region, and traces his impact on the tourists, authors and artists who thronged in his wake.
Contexts and Contemporaries
George MacDonald (1824–1905) is the acknowledged forefather of later fantasy writers such as C. S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien: however, his place in his own time is seldom examined. This omission does MacDonald a grave disservice. By ignoring a fundamental aspect of what made MacDonald the man he was, the critical habit of viewing MacDonald’s work only in terms of his followers reinforces the long-entrenched assessment that it has a limited value – one only for religious enthusiasts and fantasy lovers. The sixteen essays in this anthology seek to correct that omission, by looking directly at MacDonald the Victorian – at his place in the Victorian literary scene, at his engagement with the works of his literary contemporaries and at his interest in the social, political, and theological movements of his age. The resulting portrait reveals a MacDonald who deserves a more prominent place in the rich literary history of the nineteenth century than he has hitherto been given.
Scottish Identities, History and Contemporary Literature
Scotland’s culture is vigorous and vibrant, energised by questions of history and identity, by interpretations of the past and by the possibilities for the future. At this key moment, earlier identities are being re-examined and re-presented, and personal and cultural histories are being redefined and reconsidered in contemporary life and literature. It is these themes of re-examination, re-presentation, redefinition and reconsideration that the eleven essays in this volume explore. Together, they show how the multifarious roots embedded in contemporary Scottish life and letters bear fruit – often in surprising ways – and how the re-creation and reimagination of Scottish culture, its identities and its tropes, are being developed by a range of leading Scottish writers.