"But any story about human beings is bound to have an end, like this story about us, a pair of ingenuous people who fell in love and went journeying together through life, blundering by good luck in the right directions so that we came to a lasting wholeness and joy in each other. It has happened before; it will happen again; it happened to us. We belonged together."
Belonging: A Memoir by Willa Muir, first published in 1968, is a moving and unashamed account of her long and deep relationship with her literary husband Edwin Muir. Beginning with their first meeting in Glasgow in 1918, Willa Muir then charts the many travels, homes, projects, decisions, joys and hardships of their forty-one years together. Often viewed as being overshadowed by her more acclaimed partner, Belonging asserts the decision of an intellectual and passionate woman to believe that the concept of 'True Love' is the only sustaining philosophy and basis for happiness. Willa Muir's account is however no delusional romantic tale, and her detailed narration of her life with Edwin Muir is balanced and grounded by her perceptive comments of the patriarchal world she existed in and her recognition that her own attempts at literary greatness were constantly shaped by domestic concerns. Belonging serves therefore as a nuanced contribution to the genre of female authored life-writing as constructed by one of Scotland's foremost literary women.
Aileen Christianson is a Senior Lecturer in Scottish Literature at the University of Edinburgh. Her interest in letters and journals' relationship to published writings, as well as critical analyses of a neglected Scottish modernist writer, has been explored in her monograph, Moving in Circles: Willa Muir's Writings. She has also worked in the area of gender and nation mainly in relation to twentieth century Scottish women writers