Book Week Scotland – #3

A personal rake through my favourite books for Book Week Scotland

Book 3. Out of History: Narrative Paradigms in Scottish and English Culture, by Cairns Craig (Polygon, 1996)

… is a thin book but it had a profound impact on the way I think about history and narrative. It is a collection of seven connected essays, ‘Prologue: Peripheries’, ‘the Body in the Kit Bag’, ‘Out of History’, ‘Absences’, ‘George Orwell and English Ideology’, ‘Being Between’, ‘Epilogue: Posting Towards the Future’ – which examine how and why Scotland has been and is out of UK history. It is a bold and imaginative piece of writing – challenging and iconoclastic – which made me question the way I read English and Scottish literature and literary history.

Where are we in history? Ask first whose history, what are its limits. Take your eyes from the stage: listen for the voices from the dark, listen to the mingling of the voices in and out of history. (p. 225)