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Contemporary Scottish Studies
Edited by Alan Riach
Categories: 20th Century, Scottish
Imprint: Lives and Letters
Publisher: Carcanet Press
Hardback (496 pages)
(Pub. Aug 1995)
After the First World War, Hugh MacDiarmid took hold of the pillars of the Scottish literary and educational establishment and did the job of Samson.
The essays that form Contemporary Scottish Studies, first published in The Scottish Educational Journal between 1925 and 1927, caused a furore, proposing a radical overhaul and a new construction of Scotland's cultural identity.
MacDiarmid focuses not only on poetry and the novel (backing Edwin Muir and Neil Gunn, just then embarking on their careers), but also on theatre, art, music, history and education, and writing by women in Scotland. His criticism of conventional attitudes is balanced by a cogent appraisal of the possibilities in Scotland for a renaissance in the arts and a reassertion of national cultural and political identity.
A contemporary and peer of I.A.Richards and F.R.Leavis, MacDiarmid seeks as they do the integration of cultural and social well-being. How successfully has his challenge been met? The essays are published with the lively correspondence to which they gave rise, and which form a running commentary. Alan Riach provides an introduction and MacDiarmid's 1976 comments on the book appear as an appendix.
Contemporary Scottish Studies is a crucial work in modern Scottish literature -- which is to say that it is also essential to our understanding of the larger British dimension.
Under the editorship of poet and scholar Alan Riach, Carcanet with this volume completes the first half of its monumental edition of the Collected Works of Hugh MacDiarmid in fourteen volumes, begun in 1992, the centenary of the poet's birth.
Praise for Hugh MacDiarmid 'Watch him, an angel's set his tongue on fire.'
'Lord God, this fellow is a poet, singing a song even when pain seizes him, or the woe of the world murmurs in his heart'
'Every door in any town should be wide open to that great lyric poet Hugh MacDiarmid.'
'These great people like MacDiarmid are a bit scary, '
Liz Lochhead 'Riach has done Scottish literature a great service in masterminding the Carcanet edition of the works of Hugh MacDiarmid...'
Times Literary Supplement
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