Talk:Scottish literature

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I'm not at all expert on Scottish literature, but some topics I think we should take up:

  • Backward-looking romanticism (epigones of Burns and Scott) vs. contemporary realism (e.g. Irvine Welsh) or contemporary fantasy (e.g. Iain Banks)
  • Rural vs. urban
  • Specifically Scottish in character vs. happening to be from Scotland, but really more in the stream of English literature. For example, A.A. Milne's work mostly seems to me to be more typically English than Scottish.
  • Robert Louis Stevenson really deserves a mention, especially because his technically oriented background and lighthouse-building family are so characteristic of Scotland's coming into modernity.

Also, is there somewhere we already discuss the Scots ballads as literature? If not, this is as good a place as any to start. -- Jmabel | Talk 20:17, Jan 10, 2005 (UTC)

And the Scottish Chaucerians: James I, Henryson, Dunbar and Gavin Douglas. Filiocht 14:10, Jan 13, 2005 (UTC)

Scottish ballads[edit]

Considering that the earlist Child ballads come from the early 17th century, is it really appropriate to start the article with these? They're not really among the earliest Scottish literature. Filiocht 11:18, Jan 27, 2005 (UTC)

National poet[edit]

User:Jmabel has de-linked Edwin Morgan, Makar from National poet, with the Edit summary: "the Makar is not a "national poet" in the sense linked, the position is more like poet laureate", and linked Burns as the National poet.

In different ways (one political and one by popular acclaim) both are national poets, see the National poet article which includes both types (including Poets laureate).

For an example of the Makar being described as "national poet" see this Scottish Executive press release, and many other axamples of this usage occur (Google): 16/02/2004 First Minister Jack McConnell announced today that Cabinet has agreed to create a position of national poet for Scotland, and that the first person to be awarded this designation will be Edwin Morgan. Professor Morgan will be known as 'The Scots Makar'.

I am re-linking them. By the way, please expand that National poet article if you are aware of further examples (eg: should we add Shakespeare as England's national bard, or who else would traditionally be described as England's national poet?)--Mais oui! 08:03, 29 November 2005 (UTC)

There are two concepts here, and this is an encyclopedia, not a dictionary. Our articles should generally be about a single concept; the rest is a matter of disambiguation. Yes, our article national poet should mention—by way of disambiguation—that the term can also mean something akin to poet laureate. But the article should be about people like Burns or Eminescu, and poet laureate should be about people who hold national office as a poet, regardless of the title used in a particular country. -- Jmabel | Talk 06:43, 30 November 2005 (UTC)


I won't alter Scoti, but it isn't English. I should point out that the word "ethnic" was used as a qualifier for "language of the medieval Scot"; and indeed it was, the same way we distinguish "ethnic Estonian" from "Estonian" (who may be Russian or Estonian); if you think that the medieval Scots were the only people in Europe not to have an ethnically designated language, just go read the Chronicle of Melrose or Andrew of Wyntoun. - Calgacus 00:44, 18 December 2005 (UTC)

BTW, it wasn't me that restored Scots, although I am fine with that. - Calgacus 03:36, 19 December 2005 (UTC)

Iain (M) Banks[edit]

I think that Iain Banks should be mentioned in this article as a success story in the latter part of the 20th century. He has quite an extensive page in Wikipedia already which could be linked to. Spiggot 15:37, 12 March 2006 (UTC)

I've just done this, before reading your comment! I also added Ian Rankin, Alexander McCall Smith and Alan Warner.

This article could in general do with some more modern material. Also, why is there no Scottish poetry page? Guinnog 20:15, 26 March 2006 (UTC)

R. L.S-Kailyard? You cannot be serious?[edit]

I'm sorry to say this is a very weak assessment of Scottish literature. To describe Robert Louis Stevenson as 'kailyard' is, quite frankly, absurd. Please see the point I made about this on the Scotland talk page. As it stands we now have a page on Scottish literature that has no assessment at all of one of the country's most important-and innovative-writers. Rcpaterson 07:30, 25 August 2006 (UTC)

Thanks for flagging this up. I've done my best to summarise the RLS article in two sentences; maybe you can improve it? --Guinnog 08:29, 25 August 2006 (UTC)
Yo ho ho! A useful start, but one of the admirers apparently needed a citation, and surely Kidnapped and Treasure Island are just as famous as Jekyll and Hyde. A Child's Garden of Verses was a staple of Scottish childhood, but perhaps not so well known these days. Thanks for the reminder, ..dave souza, talk 14:05, 25 August 2006 (UTC)

Thank you both for these amendments. Personally I would have flagged up The Beach at Falesa and The Weir of Hermiston, but to do so now risks unbalancing what is, after all, a fairly brief assesment of Scottish literature. Rcpaterson 22:14, 25 August 2006 (UTC)


"In Scotland, after the 17th century, anglicisation increased, though Lowland Scots was still spoken by the vast majority of the population of the Lowlands."

Surely, as an Anglo-Saxon based language, Lallans is itself the product of anglicisation. --MacRusgail 00:21, 2 February 2007 (UTC)

You're probably right but it's not a good idea to imply that some Scots are in fact just Englishers. What's meant here is more likely the adoption of the standard language of England as opposed to what the Englishers called Scots. 13:28, 5 February 2007 (UTC)

Medieval Scottish literature[edit]

The "Medieval Scottish literature" section seems very strange. The tone seems quite unencyclopedic and doesn't cite any sources. It looks like an excerpt from a piecec of pro-gaelic writing, or written by someone with that intention. Unfortunately I don't know enough about the period to rewrite it, could someone help? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:44, 29 August 2008 (UTC)

Scottish_literature#1950s_to_the_present and James Kennaway[edit]

User:Insideintelligence and I have a difference of opinion on the inclusion of a sentence relating to James Kennaway in the paragraph about "a new outwardness". I'm not wanting to pursue an edit war, so the text is currently in the paragraph after a couple of to-and-fro edits. Our two positions can be read partly in the Edit History and then expanded at User_talk:Insideintelligence#Scottish_literature_and_a_new_outwardness User_talk:AllyD#Kennaway_and_Scottish_literature. I'd welcome others' views here. AllyD (talk) 16:46, 8 November 2009 (UTC)

  • No longer relevant following subsequent rewrite. AllyD (talk) 11:48, 27 December 2011 (UTC)
Thanks AllyD - good catch.--SabreBD (talk) 13:58, 27 December 2011 (UTC)

Middle Scots, often simply called English[edit]

The following sentence seems potentialy misleading "In the late Middle Ages, Middle Scots, often simply called English, became the dominant language of the country."

Does it mean now or then?

In the Middle Ages the language of Lowland Scotlnd was then always called English (though, just as in England, often spelled 'Inglis'). The use of the name 'Scots' for the language doesn't crop up until the late 1490s, and only become commonplace 50 years later. Moreover the term Middle Scots was only coined in the 1870s by James Murray to in order categorise the literature in Scotland of the period, and not as the name of a language. So for strict historical acccuracy the sentence really ought to read "In the late Middle Ages English, became the dominant language of the country."

or possibly:

"In the late Middle Ages, English, today often called Middle Scots, became the dominant language of the country." Cassandra — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:09, 21 November 2013 (UTC)