Since its foundation in 1882, the Scottish Text Society has played an important part in reviving interest in the literatures and languages of Scotland prior to 1800. Its particular focus has been works in Scots, but it has also published Scottish work in English and in Latin. Scots literature of this period is among the very best of Scotland’s creative, cultural and historic wealth, but it is often unfamiliar and inaccessible, either because of its language or because it is simply not readily available.
The Society’s aim therefore is to enable as many people as possible, especially but not exclusively scholars, both at home and abroad, to read and enjoy this material, through scholarly and accessible editions. To date, the Society has published over 150 volumes, covering poetry, drama and prose from the fourteenth to the nineteenth centuries. The majority of its editions are in the high period of Older Scots, from 1500-1700. These volumes are available to non-members through the Society’s publisher, Boydell and Brewer.
The Society aims to publish one edition per year. Editors submit proposals to Council for approval and if the proposal is approved, they are supported through to completion. Editing Older Scots material involves working with the earliest witnesses, either manuscript or print, to ensure an accurate text, and then providing a full introduction and notes to provide the necessary context for all kinds of readers, both those with a good deal of experience and those with none.
Registered as a charity with OSCR, the Society is entirely funded by membership subscription. Its current subscription fees are £30 for an individual and £40 for an institution: the subscription entitles the subscriber to whatever the Society publishes in the year of subscription. (See here how to become a member). Its council is drawn largely from scholars of Older Scots, based in Scotland and elsewhere, who have experience in editing and book history; only the membership secretary receives an honorarium. Council members undertake their roles because they are passionate about Scottish literature and the work of the Society, and are absolutely dedicated to maintaining the Society, and the rich literary heritage of Scotland, for the future.
Nicola Royan STS President