Despite the rain, the Scots event taking place this afternoon was well frequented; a great many people came along who were very much interested in Scotland and its literature, culture, language and history.
This afternoon’s speaker was Adrian Young, a Leiden citizen of many years but Scotland born and bred. Dressed in traditional Higland dress (including)kilt of his family’s tartan, sporran and sgian-dubh (ceremonial stabbing knife)), Young took us on a journey through the ages of Scotland’s history and literature, not forgetting the origins and dialects of the Scots language (not Gaelic – ed.) We were treated to the feats of medieval authors as John Barbour and William Dunbar, after which Young talked at length on Scotland’s national bard: Robert Burns. ‘Rabbie’ Burns was not only celebrated for writing down folksongs (Auld lang syne), but also for long and tender love poems (Ae fond kiss before we sever), epigrams, epitaphs et cetera. Ending his talk with modern Scots authors such as George Mackay Brown and Alexander McCall Smith, Young raised the question if Scots literature still exists in the 21st century. A lively discussion ensued on issues such as the definition of literature, national identity, Scots independence and the influence of religion. An afternoon well worth remembering!