The Story and the Fable
Author: Edwin Muir
Publisher: Rowan Tree Press (1987)
The Orcadian poet, novelist, critic, and translator Edwin Muir (1887–1959) is one of modern Scotland’s most important writers. His work evokes a timeless realm of dream and fable yet, at the same time, confronts the major catastrophes of the twentieth-century.
Muir was born in Deerness on the Orkney mainland but spent most of his early childhood on the island of Wyre. In 1901, when Muir was 14, his father lost his farm, and the family moved to Glasgow. The move proved deeply traumatic. Muir’s parents and two brothers died in rapid succession, and Muir was forced to take on a number of menial jobs, including working as a clerk in a bone factory. The sense of being expelled from a pre-industrial Eden and abandoned in a fallen world would shape much of Muir’s later poetry and is vividly evoked in his memoir The Story and the Fable (first published in 1940).