There and Back: An Interview with Tom Hubbard

In this interview, conducted during the fourteenth ESSE Conference at Brno in the Czech Republic, Scottish academic and writer Tom Hubbard speaks about his recent work of poetry and fiction, such as The Flechitorium (2017) and Slavonic Dances (2017). He also discusses the stimulating forces behind and the stumbling blocks on the long road towards Scottish independence. He fears and is anxious about the consequences of Brexit on the multifaceted exchange in the arts and literature that Scots have been keen to maintain with other nations throughout the centuries. At the center of his discussion lies his view of Scotland’s place in a nexus of international exchange that would be, ideally, based on mutual and informed interest in each other’s cultural achievement—in literature, music, and the visual and performing arts. (AD)

Larkin’s Poetics

Book review:

Rácz, István. Philip Larkin’s Poetics: Theory and Practice of an English Post-War Poet. Leiden and Boston: Brill Rodopi. 2016. 235 pages. ISBN 978-90-04-31106-0. Hb. €76.00.

Journeying Across Languages, Cultures, and Literatures: The Poetry of Mervyn Morris

The West Indian poet Mervyn Morris (1937-) is renowned for espousing the importance of a national language in creating national literature as well as for integrating European poetic heritage with Caribbean literary traditions. Through an exploration of Morris’s selected poems, the paper discusses the role language plays in shaping the themes of diasporic writing and of postcolonial identity, and argues that his works show a deep awareness of the fundamental aspects of West Indian and British culture. Since Morris “refuses to be trapped in the excesses of post-modern Romanticism or political propaganda parading as nationalism” (Thompson), the paper also looks at the presentation of eternal values like love and humanity celebrated in his poems. By foregrounding the frequent use of epiphanies in his poetry, Morris conveys human affection in the frame of colonial and postcolonial history. (PF)

Drink and Alcohol Literature: Two Critical Perspectives

The essay discusses two contrasting critical perspectives on the intersection between drink/alcohol and literature, claiming that criticism concerning the literature of the British Isles (English, Scottish, and Irish authors’ work) is generally text-oriented, that is, targets literature per se and the way writers thematize drink, while criticism concentrating on the American literary scene focuses on the alcohol-dependence of writers, and/or the way their alcohol-dependence affects their work, or the way alcoholism is portrayed in literary works. Whereas the criticism on authors in the British Isles emphasizes conviviality as a key trait of the way drink/drinking is represented in literature, studies on American authors often highlight drinking alcohol as a pathology, a physical, mental, and social malfunction. Thus, the former can be labeled drink/drinking literature, and the latter can be framed as what Marcus Grants has dubbed “alcoholism literature.”  (WK)