By David Robb
In his day, Alexander Scott (1920-1989) used to be probably the most sought after of Scotland's poets, popular for witty, passionate, lively poems - poems embodying his excessive beliefs of poetic craftsmanship. His poems have been additionally one of the so much pleasing in their time. Scott's fulfillment, notwithstanding, stretched wider nonetheless. His poetry used to be the center-piece of a lifetime's dedication to Scotland's literature and tradition, a dedication which took many varieties 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. moreover, he used to be a dramatist, actor, anthologist, pupil, critic, editor, broadcaster, columnist, and controversialist. He used to be additionally lively in lots of very important and inventive projects following the production of the Scottish Arts Council within the Sixties. a distinct character, Alexander Scott embodied a lot that used to be important in his country's post-war tradition. In his tale, the form of contemporary Scotland emerges. this is often the 1st significant biography of a highly influential determine within the Scottish literary scene within the twentieth century. This ebook is the joint winner of the celebrated Scottish study publication of the yr 2007 from the Saltire Society and the nationwide Library of Scotland.
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Additional info for Auld Campaigner: A Life of Alexander Scott
Before he left primary school, Scott had embarked on a series of handwritten replicas of complete magazines for boys, manufactured with the schoolboy equipment of pages from jotters, and pen and ink. These imitation periodicals were complete with fictitious advertisements, editorial columns, illustrations and stories—both serial and one-off. 13 Each ‘issue’ was three inches across by eight inches high, and varied in length between thirty-two and thirty-six pages. 14 Scott was writing purely for his own satisfaction, and if the endeavour was solitary it may also have been a response to solitariness.
His account of the sudden onset of English has something of the air of the standard nationalist cultural critique: Scottish children, we are told, speak Scots at their mother’s knee, until school imposes the 9 Auld Campaigner alien English upon them, thus condemning them to a crippling duality of speech and consciousness. One wonders how much the reality, in this case, actually conformed to the stereotype. Certainly, by the time Rita Edward encountered the Scotts in the early 1930s, they were not to be heard speaking the local dialect, so far as she remembers.
It is a portrait of the artist as a young man, in the form of a school story: his early imitations of the stories of Bunter and the others pave the way for his own personal school yarn. But just as in Frank Richards’ tales school life seems to consist of everything outside the work of the classroom, so here, too, the emphasis is on what life contained beyond the next exam or ink exercise. Juvenile passion and literary precocity make far more interesting reading than the classroom routine, and no doubt made for far more interesting living, as well.
Auld Campaigner: A Life of Alexander Scott by David Robb