Spells of Silence: or, How (Not) to Have a Conversation in the Supernatural World

Rule no. 1: Haud yer wheesht! Tam O’Shanter is probably one of the best-known characters in Scottish literature: everybody knows of his love of ae guid crack and ae guid dram, and his narrow escape from the clutches of enraged witches is a landmark moment in poetic story-telling. However, oor Tam has only himself to […]

‘The Speak House’ by David Howard

When The Bottle Imp very kindly invited me to review The Speak House, I did not imagine it would be such a fiendishly difficult task. Of course, it is always difficult to review literature in general, and poetry in particular, but in this case there were additional complications that made the text both more appealing […]

The Lore of the People: Language, Legends and Superstitions in the ‘Corpus of Modern Scottish Writing’ and Beyond

Over the last couple of years, readers of fiction and international TV audiences have become increasingly familiar with the magic of Scottish landscapes thanks to the adventures of a dashing Highlander and his time-travelling spouse from southern England, affectionately called ‘Sassenach’. While the endearing quality of the nickname may be questioned, especially when one considers that the […]

Power to the singers: Scots, English, politics and policies

There’s mair nor a roch wind blawin’ Through the great glen o’ the warld the day (H. Henderson, Freedom come all ye, 1960) The connection between history and song, whether popular, radical, or both, is long and well–established in many countries, as tradition, politics and chronicle have often blended in an expressive form capable of eliciting […]

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