Jings, Crivvens, an’ Help Ma Boab

O wad some Pow’r the giftie gie us To see oursels as ithers see us! wrote Robert Burns, on seeing a louse on a lady’s bonnet, in church in 1786. It wad frae mony a blunder free us, An’ foolish notion: What airs in dress an’ gait wad lea’e us, An’ ev’n devotion! Scots today are in […]

‘Consider History’

Consider history with the beginnings of it stretching dimly into the remote time; emerging darkly out of the mysterious eternity: the true epic poem and universal divine scripture. — Thomas Carlyle History, of course, is the sister of Literature: they have much in common, in that they are both not true. But whereas Literature runs around […]

Believe it or not …

Religion is a literary exercise: stories, fables, parables. It is wrapped up in beginnings, and most especially endings, judgements and deserts – just, unjust, and wandered-through, as well. Even in its pre-literate beginnings, Scotland’s religions have been made of stories, told and re-told. Callanish’s great lunar temple rolls around still on a circle of 18.61 […]

Westward Ho!

The first Scottish — or rather, Caledonian — literary character is Calgacus, who turns up in Tacitus’s The Life of Gnaeus Julius Agricola prior to the battle of Mons Graupius to add a touch of nobility to a doomed barbarian horde. In a ringing speech, Calgacus condemns the greed and slavery that marches with the Roman Empire: […]

See me?

Welcome to the first edition of The Bottle Imp, the ezine of the Scottish Writing Exhibition. Why The Bottle Imp? The name, of course, is stolen from one of Stevenson’s short stories. The story itself has deep European roots, drawn from – amongst other influences – Germanic folklore: but Stevenson reaches fully half around the world to tell […]


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