Scottish Modernism By McCulloch, Margery Palmer
Scotland participated in the European visual art modernism of the early 20th century, when painters such as J. D. Fergusson and the Scottish Colourists set up studios in France, and the Glasgow architect Charles Rennie Mackintosh and designers and painters including Margaret and Frances Macdonald exhibited in Vienna, Turin, and other European cities. It was not until the post-1918 period, however, that Scottish literature saw a comparable transformation when C. M. Grieve, better known as the poet Hugh Macdiarmid, initiated the revival popularly known in its own day as the Scottish Renaissance, but now regarded as a Scottish contribution to literary modernism. Macdiarmid’s new movement was launched by the publication of his little magazine The Scottish Chapbook in 1922, the year also of James Joyce’s Ulysses and T. S. Eliot’s The Waste Land. The Chapbook’s aim was both artistic and political: to encourage a new and modern literature in all three of Scotland’s indigenous languages: Scots, Gaelic, and Scottish English; and to take Scottish literature (and in the longer term the Scottish nation) out of its current provincial North British status and return it to the mainstream of European culture where it had been before the Union with England.