Thursday, January 17, 2008

Watch out for those Scots!

Scottish? English? Library Thinks Twice
By Mike Wade
Special to The Washington Post
Tuesday, January 15, 2008; Page C05


The stroke of a pen at the Library of Congress -- which rebranded 700 years of Scottish literary tradition as "English literature" -- has in recent weeks generated a spluttering uproar here. And last week, faced with Celtic fury, the American institution made an undignified U-turn.

Full article can be found here.

My sister who spent a year studying creative writing and poety at the University of St. Andrews is no doubt celebrating this reversal as well. Knowing how fiercely proud the Scots are, I can't imagine how the LoC thought it would get away with rebranding all Scottish literature as English. I don't know the reasons behind the original decision to change, but do believe the change was wrong, that it confused rather than clarified as I hope the LoC intended. The rich history of Scottish writing does stand apart in style and tone and language, and should not simply be blended into the larger body of English literature to make cataloging easier. Kudos to the Scots for fighting and winning this battle!

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