- Scottish Literary Review
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.
As we wrote our first editorial as new co-editors for the Spring/Summer 2020 issue of Scottish Literary Review, the world was reeling from the shock of the Covid-19 pandemic. As we write this editorial in early October 2020, the academic world is recovering, but is not yet back to normality. Many of us will be glad that libraries are beginning to reopen their doors, and that archival research is resuming slowly; it has also been heartening to see so many high-profile academic events taking place online. In some ways, the pandemic has made scholarship more accessible, and it has been possible to hear, see and converse with speakers without the need, expense, or environmental cost of international travel: for example, only last night, renowned Indian critical theorist Homi K. Bhabha contributed to the University of Glasgow’s online Creative Conversations series, giving a privileged opportunity to see his theory and scholarship up close. Having said all this, many eagerly anticipated events – including the conference and occasions to commemorate Edwin Morgan’s centenary in 2020, and the World Congress of Scottish Literatures, which was to have taken place at Prague’s Charles University in June 2020 – have been necessarily cancelled or postponed. We hope that this issue of Scottish Literary Review, with its characteristically international list of contributors and wide-ranging exploration of Scottish literature, will [End Page v] recreate a flavour of those conference discussions and conversations that many of us are missing.
As usual, this issue covers extensive ground within Scottish literary studies. Reflecting a new surge in scholarly interest in Walter Scott, the issue begins with two articles on the novelist’s work: Kang-yen Chiu’s ‘Reading Ivanhoe in Midnight’ and Anna Fancett’s ‘Gendered Creativity: The Heroines of Count Robert of Paris’. Chiu’s essay focuses on Scott’s first Chinese critic, Mao Dun, a novelist who emulated Scott’s historicist approach to fiction and embedded Ivanhoe into his best-known novel, Midnight. Fancett explores female-driven narratives and female creation in one of Scott’s under-researched late novels, Count Robert of Paris. Patrick Hart’s contribution, ‘Bracket and Voice: Drummond of Hawthornden’s Lunular Poetics’, analyses Drummond’s heavy use of brackets, arguing that this technique complicates the traditional view of Drummond’s work as operating at one sustained pitch, and contending that the poet is part of the early seventeenth-century transnational Baroque. David Kinloch’s ‘Edwin Morgan’s Orientations’ concentrates on Morgan in the 1970s, and demonstrates previously unseen connections between ‘The New Divan’ (1977) and Morgan’s collection of 1984, Sonnets from Scotland. ‘Robert Burns’s W.R. – The Writing Master Revealed’ by Clark McGinn tackles the enduring mystery of the identity of ‘W.R.’, a person who annotated Robert Burns’s commonplace book as the poet prepared his poems for their first publication in 1786, and finally unmasks ‘W.R.’. Gillian Neale’s ‘Annie S. Swan, Publishing Phenomenon: A Book History Perspective’ offers a new reading of Swan’s literary celebrity. Neale demonstrates that Swan’s persona was quarried by publishers for maximum economic gain, thus revealing Swan’s role in the context of popular fiction publishing. John Mark Philo analyses the relationship between Boece and Tacitus in ‘Tacitus, Hector Boece and the Writing of Scottish History’, focusing on Boece’s favourable representation of Scotland’s engagement with Rome in the Scotorum Historia, as well as the themes of liberty and...