Marthe-Siobhán Hecke

The Literary Heritage of Nan Shepherd

Anna (Nan) Shepherd (1893-1981) was (until very recently) a largely forgotten Modernist writer and poet of the Scottish Literary Renaissance. A Wagnerian-style image of hers now ornaments the £5 note in Scotland, leading to international interest from both scholars and the public. Newspapers articles were titled with “move aside Robert Burns, it’s time to celebrate Scotland’s identity with a woman” (The Conversation, 2018), limiting Shepherd’s oeuvre to one specific aspect. The aim of this paper is to show how she combines feminism, the disparity between tradition and progress, past and future, the use of Scots, and a very specific area of Scotland in her writing, while taking the Scottish weather, colours and nature into account. Focus will be laid onto her prose collection titled “The Living Mountain” (1977) and her first novel, “The Quarry Wood” (1928).

Marthe-Siobhán Hecke, University of Bonn, Germany