Auld Campaigner: A Life of Alexander Scott by David Robb

By David Robb

In his day, Alexander Scott (1920-1989) used to be some of the most famous of Scotland's poets, popular for witty, passionate, full of life poems - poems embodying his excessive beliefs of poetic craftsmanship. His poems have been additionally one of the such a lot enjoyable in their time. Scott's success, even though, stretched wider nonetheless. His poetry was once the center piece of a lifetime's dedication to Scotland's literature and tradition, a dedication which took many kinds and used to be expressed in lots of methods. Scott took a lead in constructing Scottish literature as a latest topic, laying the rules for its current prominence within the Scottish educational scene. furthermore, he was once a dramatist, actor, anthologist, student, critic, editor, broadcaster, columnist, and controversialist. He used to be additionally lively in lots of very important and imaginitive projects following the construction of the Scottish Arts Council within the Nineteen Sixties. a special character, Alexander Scott embodied a lot that was once important in his country's post-war tradition. In his tale, the form of recent Scotland emerges. this is often the 1st significant biography of a highly influential determine within the Scottish literary scene within the twentieth century. This booklet is the joint winner of the distinguished Scottish learn ebook of the yr 2007 from the Saltire Society and the nationwide Library of Scotland.

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These inner tensions, and the language-choice they involved, may be relevant to the attitudes he eventually brought to the matter of poetic language. e. ScotsEnglish) before the children. There can be no doubt that Alex Scott was familiar with Aberdeen-city dialect heard both in the street and at home, but the domestic environment seems to have been biased towards a more Anglified usage. Perhaps one can extrapolate backwards from the next generation: Crombie insists that, at home, his father spoke English, a reflection in part of his sense of himself as ‘an officer and a gentleman’.

His first step, apparently, was to purchase MacDiarmid’s anthology The Golden Treasury of Scottish Poetry. 50 The relationship only fully ripened after the war when they were completing their degree. It is surprising, however, that in an autobiographical letter to Alan Bold written in the same year that ‘Growing up with granite’ appeared, he makes no mention of Thomson’s influence in 1941: [The North-East Review], to which I started contributing poems in English in December ’41, was also instrumental in turning my attention to Scots, in 1942, when it published the prize-winning entries in a competition for poems and short stories in Scots organised by a local organisation devoted to the survival of the language.

1 This sequence provides a ghostly outline of his journey during those months. Apart from this, the material on which any account of his war must be based consists of less immediate, less personal evidence. His army record is available,2 as is the war diary of his unit, the 5/7th battalion, Gordon Highlanders,3 in which, however, he is mentioned by name only twice. Beyond that are two tiny personal accounts: the first a brief newspaper article (see p. 4 For facts that might particularise his experiences, one must rely on the recollections of his family as to what he let slip.

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