Great Britain was formed by the union of the Scottish and English parliaments, and this event provided a new beginning for Scotland and Scottish literature. This study offers a critical interpretation of Scottish literature as well as an introduction to Scottish culture. It covers the Scottish enlightenment and the world of Adam Smith and David Hume, and the "Scottish Renaissance" associated with Hugh MacDiarmid. Developments in the contemporary literary scene include John McGrath's Scottish 7:84 Theatre Company, the poetry of Sorley MacLean, Iain Crichton Smith, Norman MacCaig, Edwin Morgan and Tom Leonard, and the fiction of Alasdair Gray, James Kelman and Iain Banks. Particular attention is paid to the work of Scottish women writers from Jane Elliott and Joanna Baille to Margaret Oliphant and Janice Galloway.