Alan Riach: Mapping the landscape of Scottish literature

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Over the last three weeks, we’ve been looking at certain related themes and topics that have particular provenance in Scottish literature. On September 23, we considered the ideal of egalitarianism and how the various languages of Scotland invoked that ideal, as writing and voices in Gaelic, Scots and English are all equally vital in our literature: in terms of literary value, no single one has imperial dominance.

Then on September 30, we speculated on humour and play, what makes some writers funny. And last week, we tried to characterise Scottish literature as something essentially connected to the country’s geographical diversity, recognising that this might be at the heart of the matter of the nation, and might endorse an aspiration towards freedom – freedom from oppressions, and freedom to do certain things otherwise than under the constraints of a political zombie uniform mentality. At the core of all these themes is an endorsement of Scotland’s diversity, a way of inverting the familiar cliché of divide-and-rule that has bedevilled Scottish history for long enough. Read more


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