Source and activity 4: Notes for chapter 12
Selecting and editing
Zoomable page one image
This is the first page of notes and annotations for chapter 12: December. It provides an insight into what the author has in mind for the last chapter of his book:
'It will be the chapter of fireside tales mostly to do with the sea. Also seafaring lore — shipwrecks, superstitions, disasters, weather-lore, told over by the fire after the men have returned from Yarmouth.'
Crafting the tale
Paragraph two highlights an interesting note that the author is making to himself of how he is intending to use the writing that follows.
Once again, he is not going through a linear writing process but is crafting elements which he will use later.
Perhaps most interesting is what the author has decided to remove. Page two of the chapter 12 notes contain a long passage that the author has decided to leave out of the next draft.
Zoomable page two image
These notes offer a unique insight into Rush's own editing process. We can follow what he re-writes or deletes and get a glimpse of how he is shaping the finished work.
Lyricism and alliteration
As stated in the introduction page, it has been said that 'A twelvemonth and a day' is written with 'a lyricism that relies on a degree of alliteration which is more associated with an oral tradition often found in myth'.
An example of this can be found in paragraph four of page one:
'... the flakes thickened, fell in flurries into the fields and streets, a fast and furious shroud, woven about the bare dead bodies of the naked trees'.
Questions for discussion
- Read through page one of the chapter 12 notes. Rush considers including references to both nature and Christmas in this chapter. Does he succeed?
- Think about the imagery Rush is writing about, does it paint a uniquely Scottish landscape or not? Try and pick out some elements that could place it in a particular location.
- What do you think the alliteration referenced in the passage above adds to tone of the narrative? Why might the author have chosen this style of writing here?
- Read page two of the chapter 12 notes. Why do you think the author has chosen to delete this large passage?
- Are you able to get a sense of this author's writing process through these notes and edits or not?
Literacy and English experiences and outcomes: LIT4-07a; LIT 4-08a; LIT 4-09a; LIT 4-11a; LIT 4-14a; ENG4-17a; ENG 4-19a.
Christopher Rush in NLS collections
For information on how to access the Christopher Rush archive, see our Manuscripts enquiry page.
Ordnance Survey 1957 map of St Monans and surrounding area including the old railway line.
A wide collection of other xmaps of the East Neuk of Fife are also available to view on the Maps of Scotland sheet viewer.