Marshall Walker's lively and readable account of the highs and lows of Scottish literature from this important date to the present addresses the important themes of democracy, power and nationhood. Disposing of stereotypical ideas about Scotland and the Scots, this fresh approach to Scottish literature provides a critical interpretation of its distinctive style and presents the reader with an informative introduction to Scottish culture. Coverage includes the Scottish enlightenment and the world of Boswell and David Hulme to the 'Scottish Renaissance', associated with Hugh MacDiarmaid.
Developments in the contemporary literary scene include John McGrath's theatre Company and the fiction and poetry of Alaistar Gray and Ian Crichton Smith. Particular attention is given to the work of Scottish women writers such as Lady Grizel Baillie and Liz Lochhead, who have been much neglected in previous literature.
"The book has a clearly defined and readily understood structure….The net effect of this clean-cut overview of almost three hundred years is provocative and challenging….As an intelligent, highly personal reading of Scottish literature since 1707, it gives immense pleasure." - Scottish Literary Journal
"Walker's approach to Scottish literature offers useful insights and comments….In his introductory sections he provides some intriguing perspectives on the character of Scotland and its literature….the book contains humorous but valuable insights such as the following on Burn's "Tam O'Shanter": "The throw-away ending is pure ironic bathos: the reader is teasingly enjoined to repudiate the pleasures of the tavern, illicit adventure and a glimpse of a girl who can make the Devil wriggle." Walker's style provides for many "quotable" phrases from the volume." - World Literature Today
1. Terms of Reference: Patriotism and Change, Scottish Identity and Tradition 2. Union and Enlightenment 3. Satire, Sentiment and Scots 4. Robert Burns, the Myth and the Gift 5. Sir Walter Scott and the Supreme Fiction 6 Calvin's Scottish Devil, the End of Rural Sleep and Practical Christianity 7. Didacts and Doomsters, Nineteenth-century Propecy and Nightmare 8. Robert Louis Stevenson and the War in the Members 9. Tragedy, Epic and Entertainment, Early Twentieth-Century Fiction 10. 'Whaur's yer Wullie Shakespeare?' The Return of Scottish Drama 11. Poets of the Scottish Renaisance form Hugh MacDiarmid to Edwin Morgan 12. Post-war Fiction, Realism, Violence and Magic Chronology General Bibliographies Notes on biography, major works, and criticism