Book reviewWritten in the Language of the Scottish Nation: A History of Literary Translation into Scots. Clevedon: Multilingual Matters, 1998. vii + 200 pp. ISBN 1-85359-431-8 £ 29.95; USD 59. (Topics in Translation, 14). .
Reviewed by Joep Leerssen
Table of contents
Once again, the study of translation proves to be a fascinating approach into contrastive or comparative cultural studies. In this book, John Corbett traces the way in which “Scots” has been used as the medium, not so much for homegrown texts and topics, but for texts and literary concerns of wider provenance taken (“translated”, in the Latin sense of the term) into the Scottish sphere. It means that many important Scottish authors are but marginally represented, or altogether ignored, simply because they stuck to topics of their own rather than taking them from abroad: there are only passing references, at best, to Walter Scott, James Hogg or Robert Burns. The advantage is, however, that Corbett’s emphasis on translation into Scots lifts the status of this language ab ovo from parochial, provincial or folksy concerns and allows it to take its place, in this analysis, alongside English rather than in a subsidiary and subaltern position to it.