Guides to Scholarship and Criticism

Surveys of Research


Scottish Literary Journal: The Year’s Work in Scottish Literary and Linguistic Studies, [1984–96]. 1987–2001. Annual. PR8514.S3.

““The Year’s Work in Scottish Literary and Linguistic Studies, [1973–83]”.” Scottish Literary Journal: Supplement 1–23 (1975–85). Annual.

Selective, essay reviews of scholarship based on Annual Bibliography of Scottish Literature (O3075). The separately authored essays on language, folk literature, the medieval period to 1650, 1650 to 1800, 1800 to 1900, and 1900 to the present are typically judicious in selecting and evaluating the most important scholarship. More thorough in its coverage of Scottish literature than Year’s Work in English Studies (G330), this work was the best annual survey of scholarship on the field.

See also

YWES (G330): Scottish writers are covered in several chapters.

Serial Bibliographies


Annual Bibliography of Scottish Literature, [1969–82]. Supplement to Bibliotheck. 1970–84. Z2057.A65 011.

A bibliography of books, articles, and reviews organized in four classified divisions: general bibliographical and reference works; general literary criticism, anthologies, and collections; individual authors (subdivided by period); and ballads and folk literature. In each division or section, entries are listed alphabetically by author in three parts: books, reviews of previously listed books, and articles. Two indexes: literary authors; scholars. The Annual Bibliography of Scottish Literature was an important supplement to the serial bibliographies and indexes in section G.


Bibliography of Scotland, [1988– ] (BOS). Edinburgh: Natl. Lib. of Scotland, 1988– . <>.

Bibliography of Scotland, [1976–87]. 1978–90. Annual. Z2069.B52 015.411.

A database of books (including chapters of books not primarily about Scotland), serials, and articles about Scotland published after 1987 (along with publications from 1976–87 cataloged after 1988). The entries from the print volumes will eventually be incorporated into the database. Coverage is based largely on acquisitions by the National Library and thus is full but not comprehensive. Simple Search allows for keyword searches of the entire record, author, title, journal title, shelf mark, subject, ISBN, ISSN, or a combination of author and title. Advanced Search allows combinations of keyword searches of the same fields (except journal title, combined author and title, and shelf mark) along with date, series title, publisher, or personal name. Records can be sorted by author, title, or date (ascending or descending) and marked for printing, saving, or e-mailing. Although the coverage of literary studies is not particularly thorough, Bibliography of Scotland is sometimes a useful complement to Annual Bibliography of Scottish Literature (O3075) and the serial bibliographies and indexes in section G.

For earlier books about Scotland, see the following:

  • Hancock, P. D., comp. A Bibliography of Works Relating to Scotland, 1916–1950. 2 vols. Edinburgh: Edinburgh UP, 1959–60. Of interest to literary scholars are the classified divisions for biography, folklore, books and printing, language, and literature. Coverage of literary studies is far from complete, however.

  • Mitchell, Arthur, and C. G. Cash. A Contribution to the Bibliography of Scottish Topography. 2 vols. Edinburgh: Edinburgh UP for Scottish History Soc., 1917. Pubs. of the Scottish Hist. Soc. 2nd ser. 14–15. Of interest to literary scholars are the divisions for bibliography, biography, folklore, place-names, and theater.

See also

Secs. G: Serial Bibliographies, Indexes, and Abstracts and H: Guides to Dissertations and Theses.

ABELL (G340): Entries on Scottish writers and literature are dispersed throughout.

Bibliography of British and Irish History (M1400).

Bibliotheca Celtica (P3155).

MLAIB (G335): Until the volume for 1981, Scottish literature in English was included in the English Literature division. Literature in Scottish Gaelic was covered in a Celtic Languages and Literatures heading under the General division in the volumes for 1928–52; in General IV (later V or VI): Celtic Languages and Literatures in the volumes for 1953–66; and in Celtic VIII: Scottish Gaelic in the volumes for 1967–80. Since the 1981 volume, the Scottish Literature section encompasses literature in whatever language. Researchers must also check the headings beginning “Scottish” in the subject index to post-1980 volumes and in the online thesaurus.

Other Bibliographies


The New Cambridge Bibliography of English Literature (NCBEL). Ed. George Watson and I. R. Willison. 5 vols. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1969–77. Z2011.N45 [PR83] 016.82.

  • Vol. 1: 600–1660 has a section on Middle Scots poets (cols. 651–64) in the Middle English division and, in the Renaissance division, a section on Scottish printing and bookselling (cols. 967–70) and a subdivision on Scottish literature (cols. 2419–76), with classified listings for general studies, poetry and drama, and prose. Scottish writers also appear in other sections.

  • Vol. 2: 1660–1800 has sections on Scottish printing and bookselling (cols. 271–72) and periodicals (cols. 1369–78) and a separate division for Scottish literature (cols. 1955–2082) with sections for general studies, poetry and drama, and prose.

  • Vols. 3: 1800–1900 and 4: 1900–1950 treat Scottish literature and writers throughout their various divisions. Coverage of primary (but not secondary) works in vol. 3 is superseded by vol. 4 of the third edition of CBEL (M2467).

(For a full discussion of NCBEL, see entry M1385.)

In addition, many of the general sections list works important to the study of Scottish literature. Coverage extends through 1962–69, depending on the volume.

Users must familiarize themselves with the organization, remember that there is considerable unevenness of coverage among sections, and consult the index volume (vol. 5) rather than the provisional indexes in vols. 1–4.

Despite its shortcomings (see entry M1385), NCBEL offers the fullest overall bibliography of primary works and scholarship on Scottish literature in English.

For authors omitted from NCBEL or scholarship published after the cutoff dates of volumes, W. R. Aitken, Scottish Literature in English and Scots: A Guide to Information Sources (Detroit: Gale, 1982; 421 pp.; Amer. Lit., English Lit., and World Lits. in English: An Information Guide Ser. 37)—a highly selective and only partially annotated bibliography—is sometimes useful as a supplement.