New Publications: Criticism & Non Fiction

'A Companion to Medieval Scottish Poetry'A Companion to Medieval Scottish Poetry
eds. Priscilla Bawcutt and Janet Hadley Williams
Boydell and Brewer, 2010
The poetry written in Scotland between the late fourteenth and the early years of the sixteenth century is exceptionally rich and varied. The contributions collected here, by leading specialists in the field, provide a comprehensive and up-to-date guide to the material. There are introductions to the literary culture of late medieval Scotland and its historical context; separate studies of the writings of James I, Robert Henryson, William Dunbar, Gavin Douglas, and Sir David Lyndsay; and essays devoted to general themes or genres, including the historiographical tradition, religious verse, romances, and the legendary history of Alexander the Great. A final chapter provides bibliographical guidance on the major advances in the criticism and scholarly study of this poetry during the last thirty years.

'The Apparelling of Truth: Literature and Literary Culture in the Reign of James VI; A Festschrift for Roderick J. Lyall'The Apparelling of Truth: Literature and Literary Culture in the Reign of James VI; A Festschrift for Roderick J. Lyall 
eds. Kevin McGinley and Nicola Royan
Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2010
Prepared to honour the work of R. J. Lyall, this collection of essays offers new perspectives on the literature and culture of the reign of James VI, from his accession as an infant to the throne of Scotland, through the Union of the Crowns, to his final years as king of Great Britain. Its emphasis is on James’s reign as a whole, stressing the continuities in literary culture throughout the time of his rule, rather than the more familiar narrative of disjunction caused by his accession to the English throne in the 1603 Union of Crowns. In addition, the collection extends its focus beyond a concentration on the environment of James’s court to situate the literature of his reign in terms of both regional and international contexts. The essays range widely in their approaches and cover topics as diverse as book history and printing; textual scholarship and editing; language, rhetoric, and prosody; gender attitudes in James’s reign; travel writing and colonial contexts; Latin literary culture; and courtly culture and the politics of literary representation. Such variety is also evident in the languages discussed, which include Scots, English, Latin and French, in the generic range of the subject texts, from epic poetry to travel writing, and in the writers discussed, from the very familiar, such as John Knox and Robert Aytoun, to the currently less well-known, such as William Lithgow and Thomas Hudson.

'Anglo-Scottish Literary Relations 1430-1550' by Gregory KratzmannAnglo-Scottish Literary Relations 1430-1550
by Gregory Kratzmann
Cambridge University Press, 2010
This book is a study of Anglo-Scottish literary relations in the later Middle Ages and early Renaissance. It attempts to show how those poets who have frequently been called ‘Scottish Chaucerians’ (James I, Henryson, Dunbar and Douglas) drew upon English writing. In the best Middle Scots poetry we see an order of invention and technical mastery that is comparable with that of Chaucer’s work, and this is sometimes accompanied by shrewd commentary on Chaucer’s art. Evidence of such an independent and critical view of Chaucer is strikingly absent in contemporary English poetry, and the book accounts for some of the differences between Northern and Southern poetry in the later Middle Ages. Above all, this study reveals that the poetry of the fifteenth and early sixteenth century in Scotland is a rich and extremely varied body of literature, ranging from the carefully wrought philosophical comedy of ‘The Kingis Quair’ to the tragic grandeur of Henryson’s ‘The Testament of Cresseid’, from the pointed satires and grotesqueries of Dunbar to Douglas’ vigorous and sensitive translation of the Aeneid.

'The Edinburgh Companion to Robert Louis Stevenson'The Edinburgh Companion to Robert Louis Stevenson
ed. Penny Fielding
Edinburgh University Press, 2010
This wide-ranging collection is the first to set Robert Louis Stevenson in detailed social, political and literary contexts. The book takes account of both Stevenson’s extraordinary thematic and generic diversity and his geographical range. The chapters explore his relation to late nineteenth-century publishing, psychology, travel, the colonial world, and the emergence of modernism in prose and poetry. Through the pivotal figure of Stevenson, the collection explores how literary publishing and cultural life changed across the second half of the nineteenth century. Stevenson emerges as a complex writer, author both of hugely popular boys’ stories and of seminally important adult novels, as well as the literary figure who debated with Henry James the theory of fiction and the nature of realism. The collection shows how interest in the unconscious and changes in the conception of childhood demand that we re-evaluate our ideas of his writing. Individual essays by international experts trace Stevenson’ literary contexts from Scotland to the South Pacific, and show him to be one of the key writers for understanding the growing sense of globalisation and cultural heterogeneity in the late nineteenth century.

‘What Countrey’s This? And Whither Are We Gone?’: Papers presented at the Twelfth International Conference on the Literature of Region and Nation
eds. J. Derrick McClure, Karoline Szatek-Tudor
and Rosa E. Penna
Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2010
In August 2008, the twelfth in a series of biennial conferences on the Literature of Region and Nation was held at Aberdeen University in the North-East of Scotland. Over fifty scholars, representing no fewer than twenty different countries, convened for the occasion; and twenty-two of the papers presented are included in this volume. As at previous conferences in the series, the papers range widely in approach, in subject-matter and in geographical coverage: readers of this book will find explorations of literature from all five continents. The papers are arranged thematically: the central concepts of region and nation are examined in the first section; and subsequent sets of papers go on to consider literary and pictorial representations of places and peoples, literature of diaspora and exile (a keynote topic of the conference), the use of language (particularly non-standard languages) in literary texts, and artistic interactions between cultures. All the papers have been peer-reviewed, and some extensively revised. The collection demonstrates the vitality of scholarship in the field of regional literary studies.

'Women Writers and the Edinburgh Enlightenment' by Pam PerkinsWomen Writers and the Edinburgh Enlightenmennt
by Pam Perkins
Rodopi (SCROLL series), 2010
This volume provides an overview of women writers in the late eighteenth– and early nineteenth-century Edinburgh literary world. Its main focus is on the careers of three women—Elizabeth Hamilton, Anne Grant, and Christian Isobel Johnstone—who were both successful and influential in their own day, although they have tended to be overlooked in later literary history. Hamilton’s work is discussed in the contexts of her lifelong interest in moral philosophy and educational theory, while Grant, admired in her day for her letters, essays, and poetry about the Highlands, is read through eighteenth-century theories of cultural history and primitivism. Johnstone, probably the most obscure of the three today, was perhaps the most influential at the time because of her role as editor of a series of political periodicals; her fiction and journalistic work is examined in the context of the early nineteenth-century Edinburgh magazines.

'Red Dust Road' by Jackie KayRed Dust Road
by Jackie Kay
Picador, 2010
From the moment when, as a little girl, she realizes that her skin is a different colour from that of her beloved mum and dad, to the tracing and finding of her birth parents, her Highland mother and Nigerian father, the journey that Jackie Kay undertakes in Red Dust Road is full of unexpected twists, turns and deep emotions. In a book shining with warmth, humour and compassion, she discovers that inheritance is about much more than genes: that we are shaped by songs as much as by cells, and that our internal landscapes are as important as those through which we move. Taking the reader from Glasgow to Lagos and beyond, Red Dust Roadis revelatory, redemptive and courageous, unique in its voice and universal in its reach. It is a heart-stopping story of parents and siblings, friends and strangers, belonging and beliefs, biology and destiny, and love.

'The Scottish Romance Tradition c. 1375—c. 1550: Nation, Chivalry and Knighthood' by Sergi MainerThe Scottish Romance Tradition c. 1375—c. 1550: Nation, Chivalry and Knighthood. 
by Sergi Mainer
Rodopi (SCROLL series), 2010
This is the first ever comprehensive study of the Scottish medieval romances. The book reinstates the status of the Scottish romances. It offers a new definition of the Scottish romance tradition, bringing together texts which have not generally been considered part of the same corpus. It argues that Barbour’s Bruce (c.1375) established the rhetorical devices and literary traits which were going to be typical of the later Scottish romances. It also examines the extent to which the translation of the four Arthurian and Alexander romances from French originals follows Barbour’s precepts. These texts contributed to the founding both of the vernacular tradition and of the fabrication of national identity through dialogic interchanges between the narratives and the socio-historical circumstances of Scotland.

'The Edinburgh Companion to James Kelman' by Scott HamesThe Edinburgh Companion to James Kelman 
by Scott Hames
Edinburgh University Press, 2010
James Kelman is one of the most important Scottish writers now living. His fiction is widely acclaimed, and widely caricatured. His art declares war on stereotypes, but is saddled with plenty of its own. This book attempts to disentangle Kelman’s writing from his reputation, clarifying his literary influences and illuminating his political commitments. It is the first book to cover the full range and depth of Kelman’s work, explaining his position within genres such as the short story and the polemical essay, and tracing his interest in anti-colonial politics and existential thought. Essays by leading experts combine lucid accounts of the heated debates surrounding Kelman’s writing, with a sharp focus on the effects and innovations of that writing itself. Kelman’s own reception by reviewers and journalists is examined as a shaping factor in the development of his career. Chapters situate Kelman’s work in critical contexts ranging from masculinity to vernacular language, cover influences from Chomsky to Kafka, and pursue the implications of Kelman’s rhetoric from Glasgow localism to ‘World English’.

'The Complete Works of Robert Louis Stevenson in 35 volumes'The Complete Works of Robert Louis Stevenson in 35 volumes 
intr. Barry Menikoff
Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2009
This edition of the Works contains all of Stevenson’s known works, including the novels, short stories, essays, plays and a substantial collection of letters, plus both the version of ‘The Beach of Falesá’ originally published and the unexpurgated version only discovered in the 1980s. This includes some material written in collaboration.

'The Mighty Scot: Nation, Gender, and the Nineteenth-Century Mystique of Scottish Masculinity' by Maureen MartinThe Mighty Scot: Nation, Gender, and the Nineteenth-Century Mystique of Scottish Masculinity 
by Maureen Martin
SUNY Press, 2009
Turning a spotlight on the Victorian love affair with Scotland, The Mighty Scot examines influential representations of Scottishness in literature, art, and hunting memoirs, and explores how Scotland came to be seen as a wellspring of fierce primal masculinity. Maureen M. Martin analyzes portrayals of Scottish masculinity over the course of the nineteenth century and looks at how the mystique of Scottish masculinity arose, the role it played in conceptions of English national identity, and its impact on Scots’ attempts to construct a national identity of their own. This engaging book argues that the intricately woven concerns of nationality and masculinity are at the heart of the problematic meanings of Scotland, England, and manliness in nineteenth-century Britain.

'At the Loch of the Green Corrie' by Andrew GreigAt the Loch of the Green Corrie 
by Andrew Greig
Quercus, 2010
‘I should like you to fish for me at the Loch of the Green Corrie,’ MacCaig commanded months before his death. ‘Go to Lochinver and ask for a man named Norman MacAskill—if he likes you he may tell you where it is. If you catch a fish, I shall be delighted. If you fail, then looking down from a place in which I do not believe, I shall be most amused.’ The quest sounds simple and irresistible, but the loch is as demanding as it is beautiful. In the course of days of outdoor living, meetings, and fishing with friends in the remote hill lochs of far North-West Scotland, the search broadens. The waters of the Green Corrie finally reflect personal memoir, joy and loss, poetry, geology, land ownership in the Highlands, the ambiguous roles of whisky, love and friendship. At the Loch of the Green Corrie is a richly atmospheric narrative, a celebration of losing and recovering oneself in a unique landscape, the consideration of a particular culture, and a homage to a remarkable poet and his world.

'Sentimental Literature and Anglo-Scottish Identity, 1745-1820' by Juliet ShieldsSentimental Literature and Anglo-Scottish Identity, 1745-1820
by Juliet Shields
Cambridge University Press, 2010
What did it mean to be British, and more specifically to feel British, in the century following the parliamentary union of Scotland and England? Juliet Shields departs from recent accounts of the Romantic emergence of nationalism by recovering the terms in which eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century writers understood nationhood. She argues that in the wake of the turmoil surrounding the Union, Scottish writers appealed to sentiment, or refined feeling, to imagine the nation as a community. They sought to transform a Great Britain united by political and economic interests into one united by shared sympathies, even while they used the gendered and racial connotations of sentiment to differentiate sharply between Scottish, English, and British identities. By moving Scotland from the margins to the center of literary history, the book explores how sentiment shaped both the development of British identity and the literature within which writers responded creatively to the idea of nationhood.

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