Auld Campaigner: A Life of Alexander Scott by David Robb

By David Robb

In his day, Alexander Scott (1920-1989) was once the most trendy of Scotland's poets, well known for witty, passionate, lively poems - poems embodying his excessive beliefs of poetic craftsmanship. His poems have been additionally one of the such a lot unique in their time. Scott's fulfillment, 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 varieties and used to be expressed in lots of methods. Scott took a lead in constructing Scottish literature as a contemporary topic, laying the principles for its current prominence within the Scottish educational scene. moreover, he was once a dramatist, actor, anthologist, student, critic, editor, broadcaster, columnist, and controversialist. He used to be additionally energetic in lots of very important and ingenious projects following the production of the Scottish Arts Council within the Sixties. a different character, Alexander Scott embodied a lot that used to be very important in his country's post-war tradition. In his tale, the form of recent Scotland emerges. this can be the 1st significant biography of a highly influential determine within the Scottish literary scene within the twentieth century. This publication is the joint winner of the celebrated Scottish examine ebook of the 12 months 2007 from the Saltire Society and the nationwide Library of Scotland.

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He and Lindsay had corresponded as soon as Scott was demobilised: Scott was by this time known to Douglas Young, who had suggested Lindsay’s Poetry: Scotland anthologies as an outlet for Scott’s work. Perhaps of even greater significance to Scott himself than the successful completion of his degree was the fact that he had won the university’s Grierson Verse Prize with a long poem 20 Aberdeen in English, originally called ‘Snow’ but eventually named ‘The White Devil’. 57 At one level, the poem reflects some of his wartime experiences, to which we should now turn.

51 The two versions are not necessarily incompatible: it sounds as if Scott became interested in Scottish literature as a whole in 1941 (having begun to explore Burns in 1940) but only focused on the language issue later in the war. The North-East Review (NER), first issued on 16 February 1940, became a central concern in his life during most of the 1940s. It had been started by a group of Aberdeen intellectuals who desired a more stimulating local periodical than anything being produced by the dominant Kemsley newspaper press.

But as the Gap was closing, Scott was being returned to Britain, wounded. On 14 August, the battalion moved south to St Sylvain, taken by Polish units on the 9th. From here they were to attack enemy positions in woods to the south-east of the village, their first major action of the campaign. Here is how the war diary puts it. The attack on the woods MR 157536 was very successful indeed and a large number of prisoners were taken. G. [machine-gun] and Mortar fire. The stretcher bearers did magnificent work and worked ceaselessly all day.

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