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SCOTNOTES Study Guides

Eric Linklater’s

Christopher Nicol

Published in: Paperback.
By: Association for Scottish Literary Studies, 2012
Price: £5.95
ISBN 978-1-906841-11-9

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Eric Linklater (1899–1974) was one of the most prolific authors of his generation. Although his books were highly popular in the 1930s and 1940s, he began to fall out of fashion in the post-war world. However the quality of his work remains, and today his craft and narrative gifts are once again being appreciated.

Christopher Nicol’s Scotnote examines two of Linklater’s novels, Private Angelo and The Dark of Summer. Both novels are set during World War II, and Linklater’s unflinching portrayal of the folly and cruelty of war is warmed by his compassionate understanding of the emotions and motivations of ordinary human beings swept up in the chaos of conflict. The first, Private Angelo, was written in 1944 and 1945, in the heat of the final years of the war and its immediate, and hopeful, aftermath. The second, The Dark of Summer, came more than ten years later, as that original optimism had faded and the Cold War began to grip. The social, cultural and political backgrounds of each novel are discussed and contrasted. This guide is suitable for senior school pupils and students at all levels.


  • Eric Linklater and his work
  • Private Angelo: Introduction
  • Private Angelo: Synopsis
  • Private Angelo: Themes
    • Loyalty in time of war
    • Occupation and liberation
    • The several faces of courage
  • Private Angelo: Characters
    • The men
    • The women
  • The Dark of Summer: Introduction
  • The Dark of Summer: Synopsis
  • The Dark of Summer: Themes
    • The corrosive power of memory
    • Betrayal
    • The transforming power of war
  • The Dark of Summer: Characters
  • Bibliography


Last updated 12 October 2012.