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Auld Campaigner: A Life of Alexander Scott by David Robb

By David Robb

In his day, Alexander Scott (1920-1989) was once essentially 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 exciting in their time. Scott's fulfillment, in spite of the fact that, 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 types and used to be expressed in lots of methods. Scott took a lead in constructing Scottish literature as a latest topic, laying the principles for its current prominence within the Scottish educational scene. additionally, he used to be a dramatist, actor, anthologist, pupil, critic, editor, broadcaster, columnist, and controversialist. He was once additionally energetic in lots of vital and creative projects following the construction 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 is often 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 e-book of the yr 2007 from the Saltire Society and the nationwide Library of Scotland.

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A further indication, however, of the direction in which his literary interests were turning was his winning the Sir G. A. Smith (D. M. Cowan) essay prize in 1946, with an essay entitled ‘Scottish poetry between 1918 and 1937’. This was especially unusual as the normal emphasis in Honours English courses at the time allowed for little or no coverage of Modernist or contemporary writing. Scott was fortunate, however, to encounter 19 Auld Campaigner a young teacher with Scottish interests who had also just newly returned from the war.

After the rest of the company had joined us—and we had impatiently 24 War and Poetry scrounged cigarettes, our own having been ruined in the sea—we dug in for the night among the trees of a cherry orchard. As darkness fell and the world quietened, the guns of the Canadian battery in the next meadow roared more deafeningly than in daylight. About midnight, while I was attempting to doze as deeply as the soddenness of my clothes and the stoniness of my slit trench would allow, a message came to investigate a German patrol which the Canadians suspected to be on the outskirts of their battery position.

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. Pte Hutchinson did particularly good work. Some very fine Officers and men were lost, but the morale of the Battalion was terrific and it was just such an action as this that was needed to give the Battalion the ‘punch’ it required.

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