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  • Scottish Literary Review
  • Gerard Carruthers

SCOTTISH LITERARY REVIEW is the leading international 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 issues from 2013 onwards are accessible online as part of Project MUSE's Premium Collection.


This issue of Scottish Literary Review demonstrates both the wide geographical spread of scholars and the wealth of possible topics and approaches in the area of Scottish Literature. Institutionally, our contributors are from Barcelona, Dublin, Florida, Salalah in Oman, Taipei in Taiwan, Tenerife, Tennessee and Washington, as well as from Glasgow (and one of these contributors wrote his essay in the Netherlands) and from St Andrews (in this case the scholar is a Frenchman). Our essays feature Thomas Cumming and William Leechman in an interesting late eighteenth-century cultural controversy, Walter Scott and the idea of hospitality, Catherine Helen Spence (a Scottish–Australian novelist of the nineteenth century), 'MacDiarmid's Burns', Josephine Tey (one of Scotland's greatest ever crime-writers), the reception of Muriel Spark in Spain, Alice Thompson's Pharos, allusion in modern Scottish literature to 'The Flowers of the Forest', the representation of the Scottish soldier in recent drama, and a comparative approach to Scottish and Egyptian fiction in the twenty-first century. We also take the opportunity to publish the first prize-winner, Christie Mulaghton's poem 'The Common Thread', from the 2018 Inverclyde schools competition celebrating the centenary of one of Scotland's greatest twentieth-century poets, W. S. Graham.

Over the past two decades or so, the field of Scottish Literature has opened up in a way that some have found bewildering to a degree. I note recent comments [End Page v] even from within the membership of the ASLS, where 'specialist' and 'academic' can be close to terms of dismay and disapprobation. In fact, in literary studies, generally, the days of indigestible 'theory' are – for the most part – long gone. The formal and ideological approaches of theory in Scottish literary studies, as elsewhere, are sensibly applied – for the most part – and sit perfectly well alongside the traditional 'historicism' of Scottish critical discourse.

What I think may be objected to by some is a field that is much less easy to sum up or to 'generalise' about, a field where national identity is more problematically defined and also – it might be argued – excitingly diffuse in potential, as some of the contents of the present issue of SLR exemplify. I might even return to mention of W. S. Graham, still very much under-appreciated in his native country. To my disappointment I received no submissions on Graham for 2018, and yet the pulse of Graham critical studies is brisk. Why is no-one sending essays on Graham to SLR? Is this an oversight on the part of potential contributors, or are those of us who currently comprise the area of Scottish literary studies to blame? I leave the question hanging. Whither Scottish literary studies in the twenty-first century? Are we to become disappointed as it seems decreasingly 'traditional', or are we to embrace its expanding possibilities, less and less complacent about what 'Scottish' might mean? [End Page vi]



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