George Orwell's "Animal Farm" shouldn't really need much introduction. It's a novella that was first published on 17 August 1945, or a couple of weeks before the end of WWII in Asia. It's a "beast fable" or "animal tale" in which a group of farm animals rebel against their human farmer,with the intention of creating a society in which the animals can be equal, free, and happy. Ultimately, the rebellion is betrayed, and under the dictatorship of a pig named Napoleon, the farm ends up in a state as bad as it was before.
According to Orwell, Animal Farm reflects events leading up to the Russian Revolution of 1917 and then on into the Stalinist era of the Soviet Union. Orwell was no fan of Moscow-directed Stalinism, an attitude that was given a very sharp focus by his experiences during the Spanish Civil War. The result is a timeless classic whose lessons have continued to resonate over the eight decades since it was written and which seem every bit as applicable today as they were then.
Luath Press are to be congratulated in bringing to the world the first edition of the book translated into Scots. "Animal Fairm: The Illustratit Edition" is a beautiful book. It has been translated into Scots by Thomas Clark and illustrated by Bob Dewar and the end result is a pleasure to handle as well as to read.
It would probably be fair to say that Scots as a language is widely under-appreciated outside of Scotland. As the Scottish government says on its website: "The Scots language is an important part of Scotland's culture and heritage, appearing in songs, poetry and literature, as well as daily use in our communities. The 2011 census included a question on the Scots language for the first time. 1.5 million people reported that they could speak Scots and 1.9 million reported that they could speak, read, write or understand Scots."
"Animal Fairm: The Illustratit Edition" thus allows a large segment of the population of Scotland to appreciate Orwell's classic in a language that means much to them. It should also serve as a very useful primer for others whose acquaintance with the language is more passing but who want to gain a better understanding of it. We commend this book to all lovers of great literature and to anyone wanting to broaden, build upon or develop their understanding of the Scots language.