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Twentieth-Century Scottish Poetry

Douglas Dunn

Twentieth-Century Scottish Poetry, edited by Douglas Dunn with discrimination and exemplary lucidity, brings to light an extraordinary tradition and wealth of poetry – whether in Scots, Gaelic or English – originating in Scotland over the last hundred years.

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During the 1920s, Scottish poetry, personified by Hugh MacDiarmid, asserted its independence, denying the claim made by T. S. Eliot that all significant differences between Scottish and English literature had ceased to exist. It was an energetic ‘No’ to provincialism, and a vigorous ‘Yes’ to nationalism as an enabler of poetry. On its first appearance in 1992, the retrospective and organising vision of Douglas Dunn’s now-classic anthology revealed a profounder level of achievement in modern Scottish poetry – whether in Scots, Gaelic or English – than had been formerly acknowledged, and introduced an entire canon of writing to a wider readership, edited with discrimination and exemplary lucidity.


Douglas Dunn was born in Inchinnan, Renfrewshire, in 1942 and lived there until he married at the age of twenty-two. After working as a librarian in Scotland and Akron, Ohio, he studied English at Hull University, graduating in 1969. He then worked for eighteen months in the university library after which, in 1971, he became a freelance writer. In 1991…

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