Scottish Literature's Debt to Italy
by R D S Jack
The first edition of Scottish Literature's Debt to Italy was commissioned by the Edinburgh Italian Cultural Institute and published by Edinburgh ... Show synopsis The first edition of Scottish Literature's Debt to Italy was commissioned by the Edinburgh Italian Cultural Institute and published by Edinburgh University Press in 1986. It was designed as a shortened version of the author's earlier monograph, The Italian Influence on Scottish Literature (Edinburgh University Press, 1972). A more selective approach and further research meant that the chronological period shared by both texts - from Henryson to the Nineteenth Century - was more incisively and more authoritatively presented in the shorter book. The studies of John Stewart in the 16th century and Sir Thomas Urquhart of Cromarty in the 17th benefited particularly from the gap in time and preparation as did the discussions on Walter Scott and Tobias Smollett. Additions within and beyond that period were also introduced, Byron is an example of the first category while studies of modern writers including Edwin Morgan, Robert Garioch, Muriel Spark and Victor Carin carry the survey of literary links between Scotland and Italy into the modern period. The present edition is published in recognition of the book's continued popularity at a time when Scottish critics are beginning to look outwards in a freer, less nationalistically defensive manner than in the past. As Italian scholars, including Marco Fazzini and Alessandra Petrina, have mirrored this enthusiasm, the Italian-Scottish comparative line has become especially strong. In order to retain the original unity of structure, the second edition retains the chronological remit of the first but does reflect and react to topics where the author's subsequent research has altered his view (e.g. translation) or where the arguments of others have disproved his earlier argument (e.g. William Fowler and patronage). In these ways, it is hoped that the new edition will continue to meet the need for an overview of the topic while recognizing the advances made in the interim. R D S Jack, F.R.S.E., F.E.A. is Emeritus Professor of Mediaeval and Scottish Literature at Edinburgh University. His earlier books include Scottish Prose 1550-1700 (1972); The Italian Influence on Scottish Literature (1972); Scottish Verse 1560-1660 (1978); Alexander Montgomerie (1985); History of Scottish Literature Vol 1 (1988); Patterns of' Divine Comedy (1989); William Dunbar (1996), The Mercat Anthology of Early Scottish Literature (2000, with P.A.T. Rozendaal) and Scotland in Europe (2006, with Tom Hubbard). In 2010, the 150th anniversary of Barrie's birth, a reprint has appeared, from humming earth, of The Road to the Never Land. Rodopi will publish another monograph, Myths and the Myth-maker: A Literary Account of J.M. Barrie's Formative Years in December 2010.