Journey Without Ending. The Journals of William Soutar
2001. 288 pp. ISBN-13 978-3-901993-10-7; ISBN-10 3-901993-10-X
Journey Without Ending is a fascinating and entertaining work which productively transgresses most of the seemingly relevant boundaries of genre. Prüger elucidates key areas of Soutar's thought on a range of topics - from love to symbolism, politics to sex. Her methods, however, are not merely the conventional academic ones. The whole book involves a kind of heightened self-consciousness of the very act of its being written. There are fictional (necessarily!) letters from Soutar to Prüger; there are sustained stretches of ventriloquism when Soutar comments on the evolving book 'in his own voice'. Frequently the author addresses her readers directly, almost in the manner of, say, Fielding addressing the reader of Tom Jones. At one point the text incorporates a letter from Prince Charles! At times all this may seem arch or merely whimsical, but for the most part it proves effective, reminding the reader (and perhaps the author) that this 'report' is necessarily partial and incomplete, that it could have been (and should be) done in other ways too, with different patterns of emphasis, different principles of selection. There is much insight here, much entertainment. For anyone interested in Soutar, or in the development of Scottish poetry and thought in the first half of the twentieth century, this is surely essential reading.
Glyn Pursglove, Acumen 43, May 2002.
"I'm reading your book on Soutar's philosophy with immense admiration." - Tessa Ransford
"The book you have written about William Soutar and which I discovered in the Scottish Poetry Library has given me much pleasure. It served also to help me with a study I was doing of him for part of my degree course. A grateful thanks to you for the work you have done in the study of my favourite Scottish poet." - Edith Chesney
"Journey Without Ending: The Journals of William Soutar represents a mukkil contreibutioun til oor unnerstaunnin o the Scottish writer, poet an philosopher Wullie Soutar. As the teitil implies, the topic o this studie is mainlie the echt journals at Soutar keepit alang wi his diaries frae 1930-40. Houane'er, it is nae dour Dominie's darg at confronts us whan we apen the pages o this wyce-luikin buik; raither, what we encoonter is an unco creative an imaginative stravaig at taks as its creitical models the 'alternative' methodologies o thinkers sik as Michel Foucalt and Paul Feyerabend. Nae creitic ither nor a bodie fair saturat in the wark o Soutar wad a haen the smeddum for ti adopt this buik's caller souch (for the risks ir monie), but it is a tribute ti Dr. Prüger at she succeeds in makkin us believe that Soutar is still wi us. He cums across as a veive, breathin, thinkin, challengin man, whase peace-louin, weill-naiturt an guid-willie philosphie we ir sairlie wantin the-day. The buik is leiberallie strinkilt wi haund-drawn illustrations, portraits, photies an facseimiles o Soutar's codices, as weill as a rowth o outwalins frae his journals an musardrie. The anelie disappyntin thing aboot this buik is at we hae ti pit it doun efter wi hae feinisht wi't. Frae whate'er heiven Heidelinde Prüger cums, may it sen us anither dizzen sik as she!" - Kenneth D. Farrow, Lallans 60, 2002
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