Recommend to your Librarian


Scottish Independence and Literary Imagination, 1314-2014

Robert Crawford

eBook (ePub) i
eBook (PDF) i

How writers imagined the idea of Scottish independence over 700 years

Poet and critic Robert Crawford explores in eloquent detail the literary-cultural background to Scottish nationalism in the lead-up to the referendum on independence for Scotland in September 2014. He begins with the totemic Battle of Bannockburn in 1314, in which the Scots routed the English and preserved their independence until the two nations peacefully united in 1707. Continuing up to the present day, he examines how writers have set out in poetry, fiction, plays and on film the ideal of Scottish independence. Publication coincides with the 700-year anniversary of the Battle of Bannockburn, 1314-2014.

Show more


1. Writing Bannockburn
2. Burns and Bannockburns
3. Beyond Scotland
4. Difficult Modern Scots
5. Voting for a Scottish Democracy

About the Author

Robert Crawford’s seven collections of poetry include A Scottish Assembly (1990) and Full Volume (2008). His biography of Robert Burns, The Bard (2009) won the Saltire Scottish Book of the Year Award, His other books include Scotland’s Books (2007) and On Glasgow and Edinburgh (2013). Professor of Modern Scottish Literature and Bishop Wardlaw Professor of Poetry at the University of St Andrews, he is writing a biography of T. S. Eliot.


- Andrew Marr, New Statesman

Insights abound in this fascinating and original book, as Crawford takes us on a long and stimulating literary journey from medieval times to the present and the momentous decision which will soon face the Scottish nation. Truly a tract for our times.

- Tom Devine, University of Edinburgh

An agile and dynamic study, which places the Scottish question in its international context; Crawford reimagines the nation in ways which should interest everyone.

- Murray Pittock, University of Glasgow

Vibrant and engaging. An important book.

- Leith Davis, Director, Centre for Scottish Studies, Simon Fraser University

With characteristic brio, Crawford, traces the diverse stories of independence. A forceful reminder of just how deeply entwined are the literary imagination and the political imaginary.

- Janet Sorensen, University of California, Berkeley

Shining with intelligence and wit.

- Neal Ascherson

A work of passionate, committed scholarship. Comprehensive, daring, wide-reaching in the imaginative connections it makes across the centuries between different "freedoms", "independences" and concepts of nationhood itself. Enjoyable, readable and very timely.

- Liz Lochhead, National Poet of Scotland