Alastair Reid is a poet, translator, essayist, and scholar of Latin American literature. He had been on the staff of The New Yorker since 1959 and has translated works by Pablo Neruda and Jorge Luis Borges. Among his many books for children are A Balloon for a Blunderbuss, I Keep Changing, and Millionaires (all illustrated by Bob Gill), and Supposing (illustrated by Abe Birnbaum). In 2008 he published two career-spanning collections of work, Inside Out: Selected Poetry and Translations and Outside In: Selected Prose. [my emphasis]
Cf. Since I know nothing of Reid except his Borges translations & the book quoted above, here’s cento of outsides for rapid orientation:
That year, August of 1970 until June of 1971, was the first I had spent in Scotland since I left it, and I found myself taking stock of it—as it, I imagined, was taking stock of me. The Hispanic world irredeemably alters one’s notion of time, since it reacts instinctively, existentially, against the imposition of order from outside, particularly the order of the clock, and substitutes human time. Things take as long as they need to, and happen when they must.
—Alastair Reid, “Digging Up Scotland,” The New Yorker (5 October 1981; my emphasis)
Part of “the imposition of order from outside,” at least in Scotland—as Reid notes—is Calvinist predestination, the ultimate Western organization of time from the outside in. But Reid is describing thing-time, not merely human time: “Things take as long as they need to, and happen when they must.” Certain kinds of time have an inside-out current.
Like many writers in this century, [Alastair Reid] inhabits a cosmopolitan world, refusing national ties. Indeed, he has lived in many countries, including the States, Chile, Spain, France, and Morocco, earning his living from both university teaching and writing. And he is widely considered one of the best living translators of Spanish poetry into English, with renderings of Neruda and Borges that may well become classics. The point is, however, that this poet’s interests are so radically outside the bounds of his native province that it is critically useless to call him a Scottish poet.
—Jay Parini, “Alastair Reid,” Some Necessary Angels: Essays on Writing and Politics (1997; my emphasis)
Outside & inside is also a function of ethnolinguistic identity. Regimes of truth, too:
In December 1961, the New Yorker magazine published veteran writer Alastair Reid’s “Letter from Barcelona” in which he described a “small, flyblown bar by the harbor” that was “a favorite haunt of mine for some years because of its buoyant clientele.” Reid described how he stopped in the bar to watch a televised speech given by Francisco Franco, and used the rest of the letter to convey, through description and dialogue, the mood of the country under “the little Generalisimo.”
Twenty-five years later, the “small-flyblown bar” came back to haunt him. In 1984 Reid found himself and his letter the subject of a front-age article in the Wall Street Journal. The article, written by a young reporter who had attended a Yale writing seminar at which Reid had spoken, revealed that the flyblown bar had, in fact, been closed by the time Reid decided to use it as the setting for his story, and that he had taken conversations recorded in several different times and places and compressed them into one. “Whether the bar existed or not was irrelevant to what I was after,” Reid was quoted as saying. “If one wants to write about Spain, the facts won’t get you anywhere.” Nonetheless, the article was constructed as an exposé—with the Wall Street Journal reporter revealing behind-the-scenes wrongdoings by a prominent writer and his prestigious publication, both of which had breached the public trust.
The article triggered responses that appeared in the New York Times, Newsweek, Time, the New Republic, and in other newspapers and magazines across the country. Journalists and cultural critics publicly castigated or defended Reid and his narrative methods. Reid became a pawn in two discursive struggles raging within the journalism profession and in the culture at large: the intensifying battle for the right to delineate and define what counts as truth in journalism, and to sanction certain reporting and writing practices as capable of producing that truth while discrediting others. That Reid continues to be used in the defense against postmodern assaults on traditional notions of truth by critics within and outside the profession serves as a point of departure in the exploration of the propriety of imposing normative standards of truth.
—Elizabeth Fakazis, “Policing the Boundaries of Truth in Narratives,” Moral Imperialism: A Critical Anthology, ed. Berta Esperanza Hernández-Truyol (2002; my emphasis)