Nothing Is Altogether Trivial: An Anthology of Writing from Edinburgh Review

Nothing Is Altogether Trivial: An Anthology of Writing from Edinburgh Review

Nothing Is Altogether Trivial: An Anthology of Writing from Edinburgh Review

Nothing Is Altogether Trivial: An Anthology of Writing from Edinburgh Review

Excerpt

This anthology marks ten years since Peter Kravitz was appointed editor of Edinburgh Review, renaming the then New Edinburgh Review, and changing the format to that of a well-designed paperback book. Peter Kravitz's first edition arrived back from the printers in late 1984, and was launched in January 1985. Looking back at this issue, no 67-8 (the numbering was continuous with New Edinburgh Review), its contents prefigure the nature of the magazine to come. It's interesting to note that two of the authors represented there, James Kelman and Jeff Torrington, went on to win the Booker and Whitbread prizes respectively. No-one could have predicted that, but what was very clear was that those who appeared in that first issue -- which included, as well as Kelman and Torrington, Agnes Owens and Tom Leonard -- were writers whose work made a difference. Significant also is that Tom Leonard was included not as a poet, but for his pioneering research on the life and work of James (BV) Thomson, and this willingness of Peter Kravitz to print full length critical essays, is still very much a feature of Edinburgh Review today. Other qualities of the first issue should be mentioned, not least jenny Turner's literary criticism which became a key feature of the magazine thereafter; in addition this issue showed the beginnings of what were to become enduring commitments to international writing on the one hand and to the discussion of the visual arts on the other. The final element of that first issue was the logo designed by Alasdair Gray which has given identity to the magazine ever since. In it are united images of industry, celticism, football, media, nature, and writing -- all subsumed by the motto 'To gather all the rays of culture into one'. Few people other than the editors took this wording seriously at the time, but the generalist project of Edinburgh Review as it developed could hardly have been better expressed.

The next issue underpinned this generalist message with the publication of a major essay by the philosopher George Davie, whose ideas have had an incalculable impact on the intellectual culture of contemporary Scotland. In the preface to his book The Crisis of the Democratic Intellect, published by Polygon in 1986, Davie makes a point of mentioning Peter Kravitz and draws attention to his editing of Edinburgh Review, and this acknowledgment gives context to the . . .

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