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Annual Volume 34 (2004)


Five Classic Plays in Scots Translation

Edited by John Corbett & Bill Findlay

Published in: Paperback.
By: Association for Scottish Literary Studies, Glasgow, May 2005.
Price: £12.50.
ISBN 9780948877643

Hardback edition: £25.00
ISBN 9780948877636

The twentieth century was one of the richest periods in history for literary translations into Scots. Not since the sixteenth century has the Scots tongue been the vehicle for such a volume and range of translations and adaptations. A powerful factor in this blossoming of translation was the founding in the 1940s of a modern tradition of translating drama into Scots. Alongside original plays in Scots, these translations placed the vernacular at the heart of post-war Scottish drama. This anthology celebrates the crucial contribution by translators for the stage to the practice of both Scots playwriting and Scots literary translation. It further demonstrates how the demands of translation for the stage help re-invent and extend literary Scots.

The collection comprises translations of classic plays from a variety of eras and languages, produced over half a century by writers of different generations. Each employs an individually-fashioned stage-Scots. It makes available texts that have hitherto been difficult to find, with three of the translations published here for the first time. In addition to full play-texts, the volume supplies an informative introduction, notes, appendices, bibliography and a full glossary.


  • Introduction
  • Let Wives Tak Tent by Robert Kemp from Molière (1948)
  • The Burdies by Douglas Young from Aristophanes (1959)
  • The Servant o’ Twa Maisters by Victor Carin from Goldoni (1965)
  • The Hypochondriak by Hector MacMillan from Molière (1987)
  • Mr Puntila and his Man Matti by Peter Arnott from Brecht (1999)
  • Appendices
  • Bibliography
  • Glossary

Dr John Corbett is Senior Lecturer in the Department of English Language at the University of Glasgow. He is author of Language and Scottish Literature and Written in the Language of the Scottish Nation: A History of Literary Translation into Scots. He co-edited and contributed to The Edinburgh Companion to Scots.

Dr Bill Findlay was Reader in the School of Drama and Creative Industries, Queen Margaret University College, Edinburgh. He edited A History of Scottish Theatre; Scots Plays of the Seventies; Frae Ither Tongues: Essays on Modern Translations into Scots and Scottish People’s Theatre.

Cover illustration: From left, Juliet Cadzow as Sarah Burnett, Ron Bain as the servant Archie, and Paul Young as David Kennedy, in the Edinburgh Royal Lyceum Theatre Company’s 1977 production of Victor Carin’s The Servant o’ Twa Maisters (Scottish Theatre Archive, Glasgow University Library)

Last updated 9 August 2010.