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Encyclopedia > Scottish literature

Scottish literature is literature written in Scotland or by Scottish writers. It includes literature written in English, Scottish Gaelic, Scots, Brythonic, French, Latin and any other language in which a piece of literature was ever written within the boundaries of modern Scotland. Old book bindings at the Merton College library. ... Motto: Nemo me impune lacessit (English: No one provokes me with impunity) Scotlands location within Europe Scotlands location within the United Kingdom Languages English, Gaelic, Scots Capital Edinburgh Largest city Glasgow First Minister Jack McConnell Area - Total - % water Ranked 2nd UK 78,782 km² 1. ... List of Scottish writers is an alphabetical list of Scottish writers. ... The English language is a West Germanic language that originates in England. ... Scottish Gaelic (Gàidhlig) is a member of the Goidelic branch of Celtic languages. ... Scots is an Anglic variety spoken in Scotland, where it is sometimes called Lowland Scots to distinguish it from Scottish Gaelic spoken by some in the Highlands and Islands (especially the Hebrides). ... The Brythonic languages (or Brittonic languages) form one of the two branches of the Insular Celtic language family. ... Latin was the language originally spoken in the region around Rome called Latium. ...

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Earliest Scottish literature

Earliest literature from within modern Scotland

The people of northern Britain spoke forms of Celtic languages. Much of the earliest Welsh literature was actually composed in or near the country we now call Scotland, as Brythonic speech (the ancestor of Welsh) was not then confined to Wales and Cornwall. While all modern scholarship indicates that the Picts spoke a Brythonic language (based on surviving placenames, personal names and historical evidence), none of their literature seems to have survived into the modern era. The Celtic languages are the languages descended from Proto-Celtic, or Common Celtic, spoken by ancient and modern Celts alike. ... The term Welsh literature may be used to refer to any literature originating from Wales or by Welsh writers. ... The Brythonic languages (or Brittonic languages) form one of the two branches of the Insular Celtic language family. ... The Picts inhabited Caledonia (Scotland), north of the River Forth. ...


Some of the earliest literature known to have been composed in Scotland includes:

  • Brythonic (Old Welsh):
    • The Gododdin (attributed to Aneirin), c. 6th century
    • The Battle of Gwen Ystrad (attributed to Taliesin), late 6th century
  • Gaelic:
    • Elegy for St Columba by Dallan Forgaill, c. 597
    • In Praise of St Columba by Beccan mac Luigdech of Rum, c. 677
  • Latin:
    • Prayer for Protection (attributed to St Mugint), c. mid-6th century
    • Altus Prosator ("The High Creator", attributed to St Columba), c. 597
  • Old English

The Brythonic languages (or Brittonic languages) form one of the two branches of the Insular Celtic language family. ... Gododdin (pronounced god-o-th-in), or Guotodin (Votadini in Latin), refers to both the people and to the region of a Dark Ages Brythonic kingdom south of the Firth of Forth, extending from the Stirling area to the Northumberland kingdom of Brynaich, and including what are now the Lothian... For the studio established by Frank Lloyd Wright, see Taliesin (studio) Taliesin or Taliessin (c. ... my children are my life ... A separate article is titled Columba (constellation). ... Latin was the language originally spoken in the region around Rome called Latium. ... The Dream of the Rood is one of the earliest Christian poems in the corpus of Old English poetry and an intriguing example of the genre of dream poetry. ... Northumbrian was a dialect spoken in the Anglo-Saxon kingdom of Northumbria. ... Note: This page contains phonetic information presented in the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) using Unicode. ...

Medieval Scottish literature

The ethnic language of the Scots was Gaelic. Gael was actually what the word Scot meant in English before c. 1500. Between c. 1200 and c. 1700 the learned Gaelic elite of both Scotland and Ireland shared a literary form of Gaelic. It is possible that more Middle Irish literature was written in medieval Scotland than is often thought, but has not survived because the Gaelic literary establishment of eastern Scotland died out before the 14th century. Some Gaelic texts written in Scotland has survived in Irish sources. Gaelic literature written in Scotland before the 14th century includes the Lebor Bretnach, the product of a flourishing Gaelic literary establishment at the monastery of Abernethy. An ethnic group is a group of people who identify with one another, or are so identified by others, on the basis of a boundary that distinguishes them from other groups. ... The Gaels are an ethno-linguistic group in Ireland, Scotland and the Isle of Man, whose language is one that is Gaelic (Goidelic), a division of Insular Celtic languages. ... The Goidelic languages (also sometimes called the Gaelic languages or collectively Gaelic) are one of two major divisions of modern-day Insular Celtic languages (the other being the Brythonic languages). ... my children are my life ... Abernethy is a village in Perthshire, Scotland, situated eight miles south east of Perth. ...


It is important to note that the first known text to be composed in the form of northern Middle English spoken in the Lowlands (now called Older Scots) didn't appear until the fourteenth century. It is clear from John Barbour, and a plethora of other evidence, that the Fenian Cycle flourished in Scotland. There are allusions to Gaelic legendary characters in later Anglo-Scottish literature (oral and written). Early Scots or Older Scots describes the emerging literary language of Anglic-speaking Lowland Scotland in the period 1100 to 1450 which began diverging from the early Middle English descendant of Northumbrian or Early Northern English. ... For the 19th-century U.S. senator from Virginia see John Strode Barbour Jr. ... The Fenian Cycle also known as the Fionn Cycle, Finn Cycle, Fianna Cycle, Finnian Tales, Fian Tales, Féinne Cycle, Feinné Cycle, Ossianic Cycle and Fianaigecht, is a body of prose and verse centering on the exploits of the mythic hero Fionn mac Cumhaill and his warriors the Fianna Éireann. ...


Romance literature

In the 13th century, French flourished as a literary language, and produced the Roman de Fergus, the earliest piece of non-Celtic vernacular literature to come from Scotland. Moreover, many other stories in the Arthurian Cycle, written in French and preserved only outside Scotland, are thought by some scholars (D.D.R. Owen for instance) to have been written in Scotland. A literary language is a register of a language that is used in writing, and which often differs in lexicon and syntax from the language used in speech. ... Loch Trool, in what was then regarded as Galloway, a location that captures its wildness. ... The vernacular is the native language of a country or locality. ... The Matter of Britain is a name given collectively to the legends that concern the Celtic and legendary history of the British Isles, centering around King Arthur and the knights of the Round Table. ...


In addition to French, Latin too was a literary language. Famous examples would be the Inchcolm Antiphoner and the Carmen de morte Sumerledi, a poem which exults triumphantly the victory of the citizens of Glasgow over Somailre mac Gilla Brigte. And of course, the most important medieval work written in Scotland, the Vita Columbae, was also written in Latin. Latin was the language originally spoken in the region around Rome called Latium. ... Categories: Possible copyright violations ...


Late medieval Anglo-Scottish literature

Among the earliest Middle English or Older Scots literature is John Barbour's Brus (14th century), Wyntoun's Kronykil and Blind Harry's Wallace (15th century). From the 15th century much Middle Scots literature was produced by writers based around the royal court in Edinburgh and the University of St Andrews. Alexander Montgomerie, the 16th century poet, for example, was in the service of King James VI. James I of Scotland himself wrote The Kingis Quair. Versions of popular continental romances were also produced, for example: Launcelot o the Laik and The Buik o Alexander. Middle English is the name given to an early form of the English language that was in common use from roughly the 12th to the 15th centuries— from after the Norman invasion by William the Conqueror in 1066 to around the introduction of the printing press by William Caxton in... Early Scots or Older Scots describes the emerging literary language of Anglic-speaking Lowland Scotland in the period 1100 to 1450 which began diverging from the early Middle English descendant of Northumbrian or Early Northern English. ... Andrew of Wyntoun (1350?-1420?), author of a long metrical history of Scotland, called the Orygynale Cronykil of Scotland, was a canon regular of St Andrews, and prior of St Serfs in Loch Leven. ... Blind Harry (ca. ... Middle Scots describes the language of Anglic-speaking Lowland Scotland in the period 1450 to 1700. ... Edinburgh (pronounced ; Dùn Èideann () in Scottish Gaelic) is Scotlands capital, and its second-largest city. ... The University of St Andrews is the oldest university in Scotland and third oldest in the English-speaking world, having been founded between 1410 and 1413. ... Alexander Montgomerie (1545? - 1610?) was a Scottish poet. ... James VI and I King of England, Scotland and Ireland James VI of Scotland and I of England (Charles James) (19 June 1566–27 March 1625) was a King who ruled over England, Scotland and Ireland, and was the first Sovereign to reign in the three realms simultaneously. ... James I (December 10, 1394 – February 21, 1437) reigned as king of Scotland from April 4, 1406 until February 21, 1437. ... Most likely written by James I of Scotland, The Kingis Quair is a long poem in Middle Scots that is roughly a romance in genre. ... As a literary genre, romance refers to a style of heroic prose and verse narrative current in Europe from the Middle Ages to the Renaissance. ...


In the early 16th century, Gavin Douglas produced a Scots translation of the Aeneid. Chaucerian, classical and French literary language continued to influence Scots literature up until the Reformation. Writers such as Robert Henryson, William Dunbar, and David Lyndsay led a golden age of Scottish literature in the 15th and early 16th centuries. George Bannatyne collected many poems of the Middle Scots period. Gavin Douglas (c. ... Valerus redirects here. ... Chaucer: Illustration from Cassells History of England, circa 1902 Chanticleer the rooster from an outdoor production of Chanticleer and the Fox at Ashby_de_la_Zouch castle Geoffrey Chaucer (ca. ... The Protestant Reformation was a movement which began in the 16th century as a series of attempts to reform the Roman Catholic Church, but ended in division and the establishment of new institutions, most importantly Lutheranism, Reformed churches, and Anabaptists. ... Robert Henryson (c. ... This article is about William Dunbar, the poet. ... Sir David Lyndsay (c. ... George Bannatyne (1545-1608), collector of Scottish poems, was a native of Newtyle, Forfarshire. ...


The Scottish ballad tradition can be traced back to the early 17th century. Francis James Child's compilation, The English and Scottish Popular Ballads (1882-1898) contains many examples, such as The Elphin Knight (first printed around 1610) and Lord Randal. A ballad is a story in a song, usually a narrative song or poem. ... Francis James Child (February 1, 1825 - September 11, 1896), was an American scholar and educationist, and collector of what came to be known as the Child Ballads. ... Lord Randall is a traditional ballad that includes dialogue. ...


In Scotland, after the 17th century, anglicisation increased, though Lowland Scots was still spoken by the vast majority of the population of the Lowlands. At the time, many of the oral ballads from the borders and the North East were written down. Writers of the period include Robert Sempill (c.1595-1665), Lady Wardlaw and Lady Grizel Baillie. Anglicisation (CwE) or Anglicization (NAE) is a process of making something English. ... Scots is an Anglic variety spoken in Scotland, where it is sometimes called Lowland Scots to distinguish it from Scottish Gaelic spoken by some in the Highlands and Islands (especially the Hebrides). ... The English/Scottish border has a long and bloody history of conquest and reconquest, raid and counter-raid. ... Robert Sempill (the elder) (c. ... Lady Grizel Baillie (December 25, 1665–December 6, 1746), was a Scottish song-writer. ...


The Scottish novel developed in the 18th century, with such writers as Tobias Smollett. Tobias Smollett Tobias George Smollett (March 19, 1721 - September 17, 1771) was a Scottish author, best known for his picaresque novels, such as Roderick Random and Peregrine Pickle. ...


The seventeenth to early nineteenth Century

Allan Ramsay (1686-1758) laid the foundations of a reawakening of interest in older Scottish literature, as well as leading the trend for pastoral poetry. The Habbie stanza was developed as a poetic form. Allan Ramsay (October 15, 1686 - January 7, 1758), Scottish poet, was born at Leadhills, Lanarkshire to John Ramsay, superintendent of Lord Hopetouns lead-mines and his wife, Alice Bower, a native of Derbyshire. ... A popular stanza among Scottish poets. ... Poetry (ancient Greek: poieo = create) is an art form in which human language is used for its aesthetic qualities in addition to, or instead of, its notional and semantic content. ...


Among the best known Scottish writers are two who are strongly associated with the Romantic Era, Robert Burns and Walter Scott. Scott's work is not exclusively concerned with Scotland, but his popularity in England and further abroad did much to form the modern stereotype of Scottish culture. Burns is considered Scotland's national bard; his works have only recently been edited to reflect the full breadth of their subject matter, as during the Victorian era he was censored. Romanticism was an artistic and intellectual movement that originated in late 18th century Western Europe. ... Wikisource has original text related to this article: Robert Burns Robert Burns, preeminent Scottish poet Burns redirects here. ... Portrait of Sir Walter Scott, by Sir Edwin Henry Landseer Sir Walter Scott, 1st Baronet (14 August 1771–21 September 1832) was a prolific Scottish historical novelist and poet popular throughout Europe during his time. ... Many nations have adopted a poet who is perceived to represent the identity, beliefs and principles of their culture. ... Queen Victoria (shown here on the morning of her Accession to the Throne, 20 June 1837) gave her name to the historic era The Victorian era of Great Britain is considered the height of the British industrial revolution and the apex of the British Empire. ... The Rhodesia Herald of September 21, 1966. ...


Scott collected Scottish ballads and published The Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border before launching into a novel-writing career in 1814 with Waverley, often called the first historical novel. Other novels by Scott which contributed to the image of him as a patriot include Rob Roy. He also wrote a History of Scotland. He was the highest earning and most popular author up to that time. Waverley is a novel by Sir Walter Scott. ... A historical novel is a novel in which the story is set among historical events, or more generally, in which the time of the action predates the lifetime of the author. ... Rob Roy is a novel by Walter Scott about Frank Osbaldistone, the son of an English merchant who goes to the Scottish Highlands to collect a debt stolen from him. ...


In 1760, James Macpherson claimed to have found poetry written by Ossian. He published translations which acquired international popularity, being proclaimed as a Celtic equivalent of the Classical epics. Many writers were influenced by the works, including the young Walter Scott, before it eventually became clear that the poems were not direct translations from the Gaelic but flowery adaptations made to suit the aesthetic expectations of his audience (as has been demonstrated in Derick S. Thomson, The Gaelic Sources of Macpherson's "Ossian", 1952). The most famous of these poems was Fingal written in 1762. James Macpherson (October 27, 1736–February 17, 1796), was a Scottish poet, known as the translator of the Ossian cycle of poems (also known as the Oisín cycle). ... It has been suggested that this article or section be merged with Oisín. ... It has been suggested that Greco-Roman be merged into this article or section. ... The epic is a broadly defined genre of poetry, and one of the major forms of narrative literature. ...


James Hogg, a writer encouraged by Walter Scott, made creative use of the Scottish religious background in producing his distinctive The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner, which can be seen as introducing the "doppelganger" theme which would be taken up later in the century in The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. Hogg may have borrowed his literary motif from the concept of the "co-choisiche" in Gaelic folk tradition. For the Texas Governor, see Jim Hogg James Hogg James Hogg (1770 - November 21, 1835) was a Scottish poet and novelist who wrote in both Scots and English. ... The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner was published by James Hogg in 1824. ... For other uses of the word Doppelgänger please see Doppelgänger (disambiguation). ... Richard Mansfield was best known for his dual role depicted in this double exposure. ...


The nineteenth and early twentieth century

In the latter half of the nineteenth century the population of Scotland had become increasingly urban and industrialised. However, the appetite amongst readers, first whetted by Walter Scott, for novels about heroic exploits in a mythical untamed Scottish landscape, encouraged yet more novels that did not reflect the realities of life in that period.


A Scottish intellectual tradition, going back at least to the philosopher David Hume can be seen reflected in the Sherlock Holmes books of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle: although Holmes is now seen as part of quintessential London, the spirit of deduction in these books is arguably more Scottish than English. David Hume (April 26, 1711 – August 25, 1776)[1] was a Scottish philosopher, economist, and historian who is one of the most important figures of Western philosophy and of the Scottish Enlightenment. ... Sherlock Holmes as imagined by the seminal Holmesian artist, Sidney Edward Paget, in The Strand magazine. ... Image:Sir Conan doyle. ...


The introduction of the movement known as the "kailyard tradition" at the end of the 19th century, brought elements of fantasy and folklore back into fashion. Both J. M. Barrie and Robert Louis Stevenson are examples of this mix of modernity and nostalgia. This tradition has been viewed as a major stumbling block for Scottish literature, focusing, as it did, on an idealised, pastoral picture of Scottish culture, becoming increasingly removed from reality of life in Scotland during that period. This tradition was satirised by the author George Douglas Brown in his novel The House with the Green Shutters. It could be argued that Scottish literature as a whole still suffers from the echoes of this tradition today. The Kailyard school of Scottish fiction came into being at the end of the nineteenth century as a reaction against what was seen as increasingly coarse writing representing Scottish life complete with all its blemishes. ... // For other meanings see Fantasy (disambiguation) Fantasy is a genre of art that uses magic and other supernatural forms as a primary element of plot, theme, or setting. ... Folklore is the body of verbal expressive culture, including tales, legends, oral history, proverbs, jokes, popular beliefs current among a particular population, comprising the oral tradition of that culture, subculture, or group. ... Sir James Matthew Barrie, Bt. ... Robert Louis Stevenson Robert Louis (Balfour) Stevenson (November 13, 1850 – December 3, 1894), was a Scottish novelist, poet, and travel writer, a leading representative of Neo-romanticism in English literature. ... George Douglas Brown (1869 - 1902), novelist, wrote The House with the Green Shutters, which gives a strongly outlined picture of the harder and less genial aspects of Scottish life and character. ...


In the early 20th century in Scotland, a renaissance in the use of Lowland Scots occurred, its most vocal figure being Hugh MacDiarmid. Other contemporaries were Douglas Young, Sidney Goodsir Smith, Robert Garioch and Robert McLellan. However, the revival was largely limited to verse and other literature. Sorley MacLean's work in Scottish Gaelic in the 1930s gave new value to modern literature in that language. Edwin Muir advocated, by contrast, concentration on English as a literary language. The Scottish version of modernism, the Scottish literary renaissance was begun by Hugh MacDiarmid in the 1920s when he abandoned his English language poetry and began to write in Lallans. ... Hugh MacDiarmid was the pen name of Christopher Murray Grieve (August 11, 1892, Langholm - September 9, 1978), perhaps the most important Scottish poet of the 20th century. ... M. Douglas (Doug) Young (born September 20, 1940) is a Canadian politician. ... Sydney Goodsir Smith (26 October 1915 - 15 January 1975) was a New Zealand-Scottish poet, artist, dramatist and novelist. ... Robert Garioch Sutherland, (May 9, 1909 – April 26, 1981), was a Scottish poet and translator. ... Somhairle MacGill-Eain (known in English as Sorley MacLean) was one of the most significant Scottish Gaelic poets of the 20th century. ... This article is the second in a series of The History of Literature. ... Edwin Muir (15 May 1887 - 3 January 1959) was a Scottish poet and novelist. ...


The novelists Neil M. Gunn and Lewis Grassic Gibbon emphasised the real linguistic conflict occurring in Scottish life during this period in their novels in particular, The Silver Darlings and A Scots Quair respectively, where we can see the language of the protagonists grows more anglicised progressively as they move to a more industrial lifestyle. Neil Miller Gunn (November 8, 1891 - January 15, 1973) was a prolific novelist, critic, and dramatist who emerged as one of the leading lights of the Scottish Renaissance of the 1920s and 1930s. ... Lewis Grassic Gibbon (13 February 1901 - 7 February 1935), born James Leslie Mitchell was a Scottish writer. ...


1950s to the present

New writers of the postwar years displayed a new outwardness. Both Alexander Trocchi in the 1950s and Kenneth White in the 1960s left Scotland to live and work in France. Edwin Morgan became known for translations of works from a wide range of European languages. Alexander Trocchi was a Scottish novelist, who was born in Glasgow in 1925 as the son of an Italian father and died in London on April 15, 1984. ... Professor Kenneth White (born 1936 in Glasgow, Scotland) is a poet, academic and writer. ... Edwin Morgan (born April 27, 1920) is a Scottish poet and translator who is associated with the British Poetry Revival. ...


Edwin Morgan is the current Scots Makar (the officially-appointed national poet, equivalent to a Scottish poet laureate) and also produces translations of world literature. His poetry covers the current and the controversial, ranging over political issues, and academic debates. A makar in Scottish literature is a poet or bard, often attached to the royal court. ... Many nations have adopted a poet who is perceived to represent the identity, beliefs and principles of their culture. ... To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ...


The tradition of fantastical fiction is continued by Alasdair Gray, whose Lanark has become a cult classic since its publication in 1981. Alasdair Gray (born December 28, 1934) is a Scottish writer and artist. ... The frontispiece of book four of the novel, after that of Thomas Hobbes Leviathan Lanark (subtitled A Life in Four Books; ISBN 1841951838) was the first novel of Alasdair Gray, and is still his best known. ... This article needs a complete rewrite for the reasons listed on the talk page. ...


The 1980s also brought attention to writers capturing the urban experience and speech patterns - notably James Kelman and Jeff Torrington. James Kelman (born in Glasgow on June 9, 1946) is an influential writer of novels, short stories and plays. ... Jeff Torrington (born in Glasgow in 1935) is a Scottish novelist. ...


The works of Irvine Welsh, most famously Trainspotting, are written in a distinctly Scottish English, and reflect the underbelly of contemporary Scottish culture. Iain Banks and Ian Rankin have also achieved international recognition for their work, and, like Welsh, have had their work adapted for film or television. Alexander McCall Smith and Alan Warner have made significant contributions in the 21st century. Irvine Welsh, reading one of his new short stories at the Edinburgh International Book Festival Irvine Welsh (born Leith, Edinburgh, September 27, 1958) is a Scottish novelist. ... Trainspotting is the first novel by Irvine Welsh. ... Scottish English is usually taken to mean the standard form of the English language used in Scotland, often termed Scottish Standard English. ... Iain M. Banks at 63rd World Science Fiction Convention in Glasgow, August 2005 Iain Menzies Banks (born on February 16, 1954 in Dunfermline, Fife) is a Scottish writer. ... Ian Rankin (born April 28, 1960 in Fife, Scotland) is one of the best-selling crime writers of the United Kingdom, and one of the worlds foremost writers in the genre. ... Film refers to the celluloid media on which movies are printed. ... Alexander (R.A.) Sandy McCall Smith (1948 -) is a writer and emeritus professor of medical law at the University of Edinburgh. ... Alan Warner (born 1964), a Scottish writer, grew up in Oban. ...


Scottish Gaelic literature is currently experiencing a revival in print, with the publishing of An Leabhar Mòr and the Ùr Sgeul series, which encouraged new authors of poetry and fiction.


The Scottish literature canon has in recent years opened up to the idea of including women authors, encouraging a revisiting of Scottish women's work from past and present.


In recent years the publishing house Canongate has become increasingly successful, publishing Scottish literature from all eras, and encouraging new literature.


See also


  Results from FactBites:
 
Scottish literature - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (1684 words)
Scottish literature is literature written in Scotland or by Scottish writers.
From the 15th century much literature was produced by writers based around the royal court in Edinburgh and the University of St Andrews.
Scottish Gaelic literature is currently experiencing a revival in print, with the publishing of An Leabhar Mòr and the Ùr Sgeul series, which encouraged new authors of poetry and fiction.
Other Scottish Literature Resources (528 words)
Studies in Scottish Literature, an annual, refereed academic journal, is the foremost periodical in Scottish literary studies.
The Association for Scottish Literary Studies aims to promote the study, teaching and writing of Scottish literature, and to further the study of the languages of Scotland.
The Scottish Studies Centre at the Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz in Germersheim, established in 1981, is an interdisciplinary institution that publishes the Scottish Studies Newsletter.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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