Edwin Muir: Scottish Journey

For some time I was a bit torn on this one. It was readable enough (except for the three inserted poems, but then I have never been one for poetry), yet I disagreed with most of what the author said. However, I later realised that the fault was not his, but mine. I failed to see that the book was already a kind of a historical account.

It was published almost eight decades ago, and Scotland has obviously changed immensely since then. The Scotland of the 1930s Edwin Muir describes is as distant from the Scotland of the 2010s I live in as it is from the Scotland of the 1850s. This is possibly the most conspicuous on those pages where he criticises the Nationalists for not being dedicatedly leftist, predicting they will consequently remain marginal. Since then the SNP did profile itself as a social democratic party, and became a ruling one.

(But I still cannot come to terms with Muir’s account of the Carfin Grotto at the beginning of the chapter named ‘Highlands’. Six pages?)

 

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