Scotland and Other Places
If the last chapter especially began to suggest approaches that did not necessarily see nation as the primary or most central concern in analysing Scottish literary texts, this chapter considers going beyond Scottish literature in the sense of examining what we might very broadly refer to as its international and intercultural literary relations.
To begin with, we might briefly sketch some further canonical problems for Scottish literature in this regard. So far in this book, we have not mentioned Allan Massie (b.1938), whose best work is as brilliantly plotted and structured as any Scottish fiction of the last thirty years. His work is sometimes of the Scottish locale, but the problem is that, arguably, his finest work is set elsewhere, notably in Ancient Rome. His most celebrated novel, A Question of Loyalties (1989), which might be said to deal as exquisitely in moral ambiguity as anything by Hogg or Stevenson, is set in Vichy France during the Second World War. In this text and elsewhere, Massie examines how large-scale historical events play out in the personal lives of ‘unimportant’ protagonists, and this focus is something that derives to a large extent from the fact that he is an expert disciple of Walter Scott. Massie, like Scott, has been an enthusiastic Unionist and Tory and so apart from his ‘international’ subject-matter, perhaps his face does not fit with the traditional ideological predilections of Scottish criticism towards nationalism and socialism.