Jason R. Rudy, “Scottish Sounds in Colonial South Africa: Thomas Pringle, Dialect, and the Overhearing of Ballad” (pp. 197–214)
This essay uses Scottish ballads to think through the ways poems circulated in nineteenth-century emigrant communities. Dialect was a significant feature of colonial poetry, capturing the particular sounds of localities: the borderlands of Scotland, for example. Given the long association between dialect and oral culture, dialect in the context of ballad poetry signaled an especially communal form of identification. Scottish dialect poems in emigrant communities had an especial power to invoke a communal consciousness, a sense of being together that arose from having come from the same place. I take the Scottish poet Thomas Pringle as an example of a larger phenomenon, tracing the revisions he made to ballad poems as he moved from Edinburgh to South Africa and then London.