I am not an essentialist.
The review is in the Athenaeum, 1 Aug. 1919: 680.
My book was published in Britain also by Edinburgh UP, so it should be in
libraries there as well as here. As this is a topic on which I think Eliot was
very mistaken, my position is pretty clearly pro-MacDiarmid in the article.
It does not mean I agree with MacDiarmid's notions of a kind of essential
Scottishism, but then my point is that they agree on the idea of language,
just not on whether Scots is one. While it is true that economically and
politically Scots was marginalized, and that meant it was broken into
dialects within Scotland, linguistically it makes as much sense to call
English a dialect of Scots as the other way around. If one goes back to the
earliest known text of "Inglis" (Caedmon's Hymn) one is in Northumbrian,
Date sent: Sat, 24 Mar 2001 14:39:16 +0100
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From: "INGELBIEN RAPHAEL" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Subject: Re: Not so OT
> I might place it further in the context of TSE and not OFF TOPIC by
> referring anyone interested to Eliot's 1919 review of G. Gregory Smith's
> book, _Scottish Literature: Character and Influence_. Eliot addressed
> question, "Was There a Scottish Literature?" and concluded that the
> answer was "no"--on grounds of language. Eliot clearly did not know the
> history of the Scots language, but let that go. Naturally MacDiarmid
> disagreed. I have written about, it if anyone wants to read it, in my
> contribution to _Hugh MacDiarmid: The Man and His Work_." I note this
> only to point out that the specific cultural question is directly an
> Eliot question, one I think would be interesting to discuss. Nancy
Do you have a reference for Eliot's review? I'd like to check it out.
Thanks for referring to your own work as well - I'll try to get hold of a
copy of that too.
My other post about the role of the Scottish aristocracy in the clearances
was only a way of emphasizing a distinction that was already implicit in
your posts. In this discussion you've always seemed to me to avoid the
trap of a sweeping, unreconstructed 'Scottishism'. I was just pointing out
that that charge wouldn't stick.
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