If a language is a dialect with an army and navy, as the adage has it, then presumably a national literature can’t be far behind. With Scotland counting down towards a referendum that might potentially establish an army and navy, the question of whether it has a national literature is a relevant one. Recent debate over the control of the arts in Scotland has made it moreso – one argument used to refute Alasdair Gray’s assertion that too many prominent positions in the arts go to English candidates is that there is no Scottish culture for them to be ignorant of. (This will be discussed further in the next post).
Over the next year or so I therefore intend to liberally sprinkle my posts with a selection of Scottish classics. A few will be well known outside Scotland but many will probably not be; if nothing else it may bring some neglected writers to wider attention. I have no intention of tackling this chronologically or of attempting to be exhaustive, but do hope to touch on prose, poetry and drama in the course of the year. If you have a favourite Scottish text, feel free to let me know.
Tags: scottish literature