Contemporary Scottish Poetry

By Matt McGuire; Colin Nicholson | Go to book overview
Save to active project

Introduction Feeling Independent

Matt McGuire and Colin Nicholson

It is widely acknowledged that the late twentieth century was a dynamic, productive and innovative period in Scottish literary history. A flourishing of creative and scholarly endeavour, along with a rejuvenated Scottish publishing industry, radically transformed the cultural landscape north of the border. In The Scottish Novel since the Seventies (1993) and Scottish Theatre since the Seventies (1996), both edited by Randall Stevenson and Gavin Wallace, critics began to chart these energies and undercurrents, while simultaneously legitimising these decades as a distinct moment in the evolution of Scotland's literary output. On the stage the 1970s had witnessed the emergence of a deliberately self-conscious drama, where playwrights like Stewart Conn, Hector MacMillan, John McGrath, Ian Brown and Donald Campbell sought to interrogate the Scottish past and in doing so shed new light on the country's present predicament. If the 1980s saw the resuscitation of certain perennial themes questions of language, nation, community there is also a sense in which such preoccupations were subject to rigorous transgression and transcendence. Similarly, if the 1920s invoked a mythical Scotland, contemporary writing would debunk such notions by re-orientating itself within global fields of reference. In Kathleen Jamie's landmark poem ‘The Queen of Sheba’ it is an outsider, the eroticised female Other, who rides in from the East to pour scorn on small-town Scotland and its couthy prejudices. While Alasdair Gray's Lanark (1981) set a time bomb inside Scottish culture, it also belonged to wider developments within the novel, influenced by postmodernism and the French nouveau roman of the 1950s, whose practitioners include writers like Salman Rushdie (1947–), Gabriel Garcia Marquez (1927–) and, earlier, Jorge Luis Borges (1899–1986). In a local context Gray's novel was symptomatic of broader movement within Scottish fiction, characterised by self-confidence and textual innovation in novelists as diverse as James Kelman (1946–), Iain Banks (1954–), Janice Galloway (1955–) and A. L. Kennedy (1965–). The 1990s would see commercial success build on this critical acclaim with best-selling writers like Irvine Welsh (1958–), Ian Rankin (1960–), Val McDermid (1964–), Louise Welsh (1965–), and

-1-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Contemporary Scottish Poetry
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen
/ 232

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?