23 Things – Exploring Linklater on Wikipedia

The ‘23 Things‘ request to explore Wikipedia certainly did not turn out as I had anticipated.

I did my MPhil on Eric Linklater, a very prolific Scottish author who wrote from the early to mid-20th century. When I was studying his work, there were only two secondary sources solely dedicated to Linklater, and an unfortunate number of contemporary Scottish-literary texts relegated him to footnotes despite the fact he completed over 100 titles (novels, autobiographies, non-fictions, screenplays and short stories) and his popularity before his death in 1974 was immense.

He was an early Nationalist, but — because he was predominately a humourist* — I had to regularly justify his merit as a literary figure to an outrageous number of academics who crossed my path. There were a few Scottish literature scholars who told me that Linklater’s only relevance was as a side member of the early Nationalist or as a friend of Lewis Grassic Gibbon or Hugh MacDiarmid, and I quickly became tired of repeating Linklater’s merits to deaf ears.

Over the last few years, a paper I wrote entitled and listed on this blog, ‘Alliances not Alienation: Imperial Federalism via Scottish Nationalism in Eric Linklater’s Magnus Merriman’, has gotten a bit of attention, and I’ve had a few people get in touch through my blog about Linklater. Yet, I since completing my MPhil, I have not been actively researching Linklater. I do sincerely believe that studying him as a humourist, author, and historian would be beneficial to anyone interested in Scottish literature, British literature or humour, but lately I have been focusing on other things and have not Googled ‘Eric Linklater’ in quite awhile.

I thought that today would be a good day to pull up his Wikipedia record and possibly flesh it out, as it had – at one point – been just two sentences. Much to my surprise Eric Linklater now has a full Wikipedia listing, AND, according to the additional sources on the Wikipedia page, he is being studied in schools, which is noted by the creation of Christopher Nicol’s ‘Scotnotes Study Guide’ entitled ‘Eric Linklater’s “Private Angelo” and the “Dark of Summer”‘.

This is such fantastic news. On a purely selfish level, I feel that my years of insistence that the literary world should celebrate Linklater’s talent and achievements have been proved. On a more altruistic level, by adding him to the curriculum, hopefully Linklater will find a new fan base in young Scottish students.

*The pretentious believe that funny can’t be scholarly is a blog post to be written on another day.

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