In Brief

17th October 1997 at 01:00
THE MERCAT ANTHOLOGY OF EARLY SCOTTISH LITERATURE 1375-1707. Edited by R D S Jack and P A T Rozendaal. Mercat Pounds 15.99

In these devolutionary days, this anthology is a welcome and timely contribution to Scottish literary studies. Welcome, because it brings together an extraordinary breadth of Scots, Gaelic, Latin and English work in a single well-edited and attractively produced volume. And timely, because it challenges widespread assumptions about "Scottishness" and attempts to promote a new, inclusive canon of Scottish literature.

Professor Ronnie Jack, in a closely argued, controversial introduction, calls for the rehabilitation of 17th century writers, marginalised by other scholars in Scottish literature as "treacherously" anglicised. Professor Jack presents all of the work here, spanning more than three centuries, as a continuum of a "polymathic linguistic inheritance", and warns of the dangers of a blinkered nationalism which focuses on "a homogeneous language called 'Scots' ". The anthology will provide an accessible text for students and pupils.

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