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Home > Publications > Books > Occasional Papers > Roots & Fruits of Scottish Culture



Scottish identities, history
& contemporary literature

Occasional Papers series No. 19

Edited by Ian Brown & Jean Berton

Published in: Paperback.
By: Scottish Literature International, Glasgow 2014.
Price: £19.95 / €22.95
(USA $25.95, Canada $25.95)
ISBN 9781908980076

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Scotland’s culture is vigorous and vibrant, energised by questions of history and identity, by interpretations of the past and by the possibilities for the future. At this key moment, earlier identities are being re-examined and re-presented, and personal and cultural histories are being redefined and reconsidered in contemporary life and literature. It is these themes of re-examination, re-presentation, redefinition and reconsideration that the eleven essays in this volume explore. Together, they show how the multifarious roots embedded in contemporary Scottish life and letters bear fruit – often in surprising ways – and how the re-creation and reimagination of Scottish culture, its identities and its tropes, are being developed by a range of leading Scottish writers.


  • Introduction: The many versions of identity and history

    Part One: Performing Identities

  • ‘Breid, barley-bree an paintit room’: history, identity and utopianism in Lyndsay’s Thrie Estaitis and Greig’s Glasgow Girls (Trish Reid)
  • Figuring, disfiguring the literary past: the strange cases of Ross Sinclair and Calum Colvin (Camille Manfredi)
  • History and tartan as enactment and performance of varieties of ‘Scottishness’ (Ian Brown)

    Part Two: Poetic Roots and Identities

  • New Poems, Chiefly in the Scottish Dialect: ‘A sly wink to the master’ (Karyn Wilson Costa)
  • Bards and radicals in contemporary Scottish poetry: Liz Lochhead, Jackie Kay, and an evolving tradition (Margery Palmer McCulloch)
  • Adopting cultures and embodying myths in Jackie Kay’s The Adoption Papers and Red Dust Road (Matthew Pateman)

    Part Three: The Fruits of Fiction, Myth and History

  • The Kailyard’s ghost: community in modern Scottish fiction (Scott Lyall)
  • Historicity, narration and myths in Karin Altenberg’s Island of Wings (Philippe Laplace)
  • James Robertson’s angle on Scottish society and politics in And the Land Lay Still (Morag J. Munro-Landi)
  • ‘Scotland’, literature, history, home, and melancholy in Andrew Greig’s novel Romanno Bridge (Jean Berton)
  • Investigating the body politic: dystopian visions of a new Scotland in Paul Johnston’s Quintilian Dalrymple novels (David Clark)
  • Notes on contributors


Cover image: “The Gift”
Alasdair Taylor (1934–2007)
Reproduced by kind permission of the artist’s family
Photograph courtesy of Street Level Photoworks


Last updated 6 January 2015.