Saturday, 15 December 2007

Libroj de Skotlando la Globe & Mail:

For an academically inclined friend who's curious about Scottish literature, the first "big yin," Scotland's Books: The Penguin History of Scottish Literature would be the very thing. This survey of Scottish writing from the sixth century on is conducted by Scottish poet, professor and nationalist Robert Crawford. He was born in the era when Scottish students were openly discouraged from taking their own literature seriously. He's out to remedy that with this "fresh history, aimed not just at academics but at readers generally."

He gives proper recognition to two areas commonly ignored in previous histories: the long tradition of Scottish writing in Latin and in Gaelic. Until the early 18th century, when it went out of use, Latin was the dominant language in prose and poetry (the famous William Drummond of Hawthornden was "the foremost Latin poet in Europe"). Gaelic has been the native tongue of a diminishing number of wonderful Scottish poets over the centuries, up to and including the late Sorley MacLean. Crawford's fine translations of many passages from Latin and Gaelic make the book an excellent anthology of formerly inaccessible gems.

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