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Speaking in Tongues

Robert Crawford, 8 February 1996

The Poetry of Scotland: Gaelic, Scots and English 1380-1980 
edited and introduced by Roderick Watson.
Edinburgh, 752 pp., £19.95, May 1995, 0 7486 0607 6
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... frost subdu’d, / Gradual, resolves into a weeping thaw’, though Johnson’s admired James Thomson, author of these lines, came close to being Fergusson’s contemporary. That sense of linguistic jolting and, not infrequently, of cross-linguistic connections lends Watson’s anthology its revelatory potential. Ossianic translatorese, the Burns who ...

Colloquially Speaking

Patrick McGuinness: Poetry from Britain and Ireland after 1945, 1 April 1999

The Penguin Book of Poetry from Britain and Ireland since 1945 
edited by Simon Armitage and Robert Crawford.
Viking, 480 pp., £10.99, September 1998, 0 670 86829 9
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The Firebox: Poetry from Britain and Ireland after 1945 
edited by Sean O’Brien.
Picador, 534 pp., £16.99, October 1998, 0 330 36918 0
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... on the Scots, towards whom we sense that their book has, if not a bias, certainly a leaning. Derick Thomson, Iain Crichton Smith and Sorley MacLean in Scottish Gaelic and Bobi Jones in Welsh are comfortably and necessarily in, but contemporary poets do not get the same pluralist chance as their Scots and English-language siblings. Menna Elfyn and ...

The Great Scots Education Hoax

Rosalind Mitchison, 18 October 1984

The Companion to Gaelic Scotland 
edited by Derick Thomson.
Blackwell, 363 pp., £25, December 1983, 0 631 12502 7
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Experience and Enlightenment: Socialisation for Cultural Changes in 18th-Century Scotland 
by Charles Camic.
Edinburgh, 301 pp., £20, January 1984, 0 85224 483 5
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Knee Deep in Claret: A Celebration of Wine and Scotland 
by Billy Kay and Cailean Maclean.
Mainstream, 232 pp., £9.95, November 1983, 0 906391 45 8
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Education and Opportunity in Victorian Scotland: Schools and Universities 
by R.D. Anderson.
Oxford, 384 pp., £25, July 1983, 0 19 822696 9
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Scotland: The Real Divide 
edited by Gordon Brown and Robin Cook.
Mainstream, 251 pp., £9.95, November 1983, 0 906391 18 0
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Wealth and Virtue: The Shaping of Political Economy in the Scottish Enlightenment 
edited by Istvan Hont and Michael Ignatieff.
Cambridge, 371 pp., £35, November 1983, 0 521 23397 6
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... sets of belief contribute directly or by opposition to the subject-matter of most of these books. Derick Thomson’s Companion is a response to intensifying interest in Highland culture. It is handsomely illustrated on a wide range of themes, but there is a thoroughness in its approach which makes it more than a tourist souvenir. There are two pages, for ...

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