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Beyond Scotland

New Contexts for Twentieth-Century Scottish Literature

Scottish creative writing in the twentieth century was notable for its willingness to explore and absorb the literatures of other times and other nations. From the engagement with Russian literature of Hugh MacDiarmid and Edwin Morgan, through to the interplay with continental literary theory, Scottish writers have proved active participants in a diverse international literary practice. Scottish criticism has, arguably, often been slow in appreciating the full extent of this exchange. Preoccupied with marking out its territory, with identifying an independent and distinctive tradition, Scottish criticism has occasionally blinded itself to the diversity and range of its writers. In stressing the importance of cultural independence, it has tended to overlook the many virtues of interdependence. The essays in this book aim to offer a corrective view. They celebrate the achievement of Scottish writing in the twentieth century by offering a wider basis for appreciation than a narrow idea of 'Scottishness'. Each essay explores an aspect of Scottish writing in an individual foreign perspective; together they provide an enriching account of a national literary practice that has deep, and often surprisingly complex, roots in international culture.
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The nineteenth century is often read as a time of retreat and diffusion in Scottish literature under the overwhelming influence of British identity. Scotland and the 19th-Century World presents Scottish literature as altogether more dynamic, with narratives of Scottish identity working beyond the merely imperial. This collection of essays by leading international scholars highlights Scottish literary intersections with North America, Asia, Africa and Europe. James Macpherson, Francis Jeffrey, Walter Scott, Robert Louis Stevenson and John Davidson feature alongside other major literary and cultural figures in this groundbreaking volume.