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This review is taken from PN Review 5, Volume 5 Number 1, October - December 1978.

AGAINST THE DAY Modern Scottish Poetry: an anthology of the Scottish Renaissance 1925-1975, ed. Maurice Lindsay, Carcanet, £3.90 (£2.50 pb).

This is the third version of Maurice Lindsay's anthology, but it is not altogether clear how this version improves on the first. It seems possible, in fact, that his editorial touch was surer in 1946 than it is now. One of the changes is that in this version Hugh MacDiarmid's poem 'The Little White Rose' (not, as it happens, a particularly good poem) is attributed to Sir Compton Mackenzie. It is interesting to know that the words are Mackenzie's, of course; but the point (which Mr Lindsay has since conceded in a press apology to Hugh MacDiarmid) is surely that no one noticed until MacDiarmid made them into something. One wonders why it was done, without even a footnote to acknowledge MacDiarmid. It's impossible to believe that it was simply a matter of giving credit where it was, supposedly, due. The point is worth dwelling on a little because it indicates something of Mr Lindsay's general attitude to MacDiarmid and the Scottish renaissance: an attitude which is, to say the least, ambivalent. For example, Mr Lindsay claims to want to represent the achievements of the Scottish renaissance, yet the last seventy-odd pages of the anthology contain only four short poems in Scots. Now I myself have some misgivings about what has been achieved in Scots by and after MacDiarmid, but it seems none the less strange that 'an anthology of the Scottish renaissance' (for which the revival of Scots, and an antagonism to English, were central) should so raise ...

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