Introduction: Scottish Radicals and BOSLIT Redux – Scottish Literature at the 2023 MLA Convention

This special supplement of The Bottle Imp continues the now established tradition of presenting revised papers presented at events related to Scottish Literature at the annual MLA convention. The 2023 MLA convention took place in January, partly in San Francisco, and partly online. Some of the presenters featured in this supplement took the opportunity to […]

3. Bibliography of Scottish Literature in Translation: a new beginning

As some readers of The Bottle Imp will already know, the Bibliography of Scottish Literature in Translation (BOSLIT) was established in 1994 and, until recently, was based at the National Library of Scotland (NLS). Created as an open, online database, it currently lists over thirty-two thousand literary works translated into over a hundred languages, with […]

5. The national, the transnational and literary prestige: revisiting the BOSLIT database

Constructing a database of translations of literary works from one textual culture into a range of different ones appears a rather innocent and uncomplicated – indeed positivist – activity, yet work of this kind inevitably raises theoretical considerations about the historically shifting meanings of the ‘national’, the publishing culture of multinational and multilingual empires, scholarly […]

6. Translation and Scottish Gaelic

Unlike the companion articles on translating Scotland to the world, this one addresses translating Scotland to itself, not metaphorically but literally, from English to Gaelic and Gaelic to English. I begin with an illustrative example, follow with a brief history of Gaelic translation practices, and conclude with a few reflections on my own experience as […]

1. The Poems of Elizabeth Campbell: Maternal Loss and the Crimean War

Only a small proportion of the writings that have come down to us from mid-nineteenth-century Scotland were composed by the genuinely poor, and even these have been mostly filtered through middle-class patrons, editors, and publishers. Even scarcer are the writings of impoverished nineteenth-century women, who suffered from lower levels of literacy than their male counterparts, […]

2. Scottish Radicalism and Jackie Kay’s Red Dust Road

In this paper, I investigate Jackie Kay’s memoir, Red Dust Road, published in 2010, as a contemporary moment of Scottish radicalism that connects with earlier moments of radicalism. A poet, dramatist, and author of novels and short stories, Kay frequently draws on her own life story, explicitly, in her writing. A mixed-race child of a […]

4. Reciprocities and Circularities – Notes on BOSLIT’s Literary Exchanges

During the first five years of this century, I worked full-time as the editor-researcher of BOSLIT, which was then a joint project of Edinburgh University and the National Library of Scotland. At the end of this period, BOSLIT was awarded an ‘A’ rating by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC). Latterly, it entered a […]

7. A Scots Quair in Chinese Translation

Lewis Grassic Gibbon’s A Scots Quair is, as its title asserts, a book rooted in Scotland, both in content and style. The task of translating this trilogy of novels into other languages is, therefore, daunting; the translator must mediate not only the cultural specificities of Scottish rural life in the period before and after the […]


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