Màiri Sìne Chaimbeul brings together, for the first time, the full surviving corpus of songs attributed to the celebrated eighteenth-century Kintail and North Carolina poet, Iain mac Mhurchaidh, or John MacRae. Leaving his native Kintail in the early 1770s, the poet emigrated to North Carolina in search of a better life, only to find himself fighting with the Loyalist forces in the American War of Independence and spending time as a prisoner of war. The editor situates Iain mac Mhurchaidh in both his Scottish and North American historical and social contexts, and contributes to the debate surrounding the poet’s authorship of songs such as the well-known ‘Dèan cadalan sàmhach, a chuilein mo rùin’ (Sleep quietly, my darling young one). Drawing on both published texts and oral tradition this volume provides the first authoritative account of a prominent, yet enigmatic, figure in the Gaelic literary canon. Numbering thirty in total, Iain mac Mhurchaidh’s songs offer an unparalleled view of the social and political dilemmas faced by the poet and his contemporaries in both the Highlands and North America and encompass a range of themes including love, eulogy, hunting, drinking, and social change, as well as the ‘emigrant experience’.
Màiri Sìne Chaimbeul comes from Plockton, Lochalsh. She was a lecturer for over twenty years in Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, mainly focusing on folklore and traditional culture. She has written three books for children and young adults, and has published articles on various aspects of Gaelic song in which she has had a lifelong interest. She was the winner of the Gold Medal for Traditional Singing at the Royal National Mod in Oban in 1992.
Professor Meek’s Canna Lecture represents a further valuable contribution to the study of Gaelic literature, this time turning the focus on the eighteenth century and the work of one of its major literary figures, Perthshire poet Dugald Buchanan. Professor Meek’s interest in Buchanan dates back to his student days, an interest which remained with him and which culminated in SGTS’s 2015 volume Laoidhean Spioradail Dhùghaill Bhochanain, the first authoritative and scholarly edition of the poet’s work. This lecture focussed on manuscript sources for Buchanan’s poetry and thus further enriches our understanding of the poet, his world and his work.
Iasad Rann A Borrowing of Verses. Original Gaelic poems and translations by John Maclean edited by Professors William Gillies and Donald E. Meek
John Maclean (1909−70), brother of the well-known Gaelic poet Sorley Maclean, was a member of the distinguished Maclean family from Oscaig, Raasay. Educated at Portree Secondary School and the Universities of Edinburgh and Cambridge, he was one of the most distinguished Classical scholars to have come out of the Highlands. He began his teaching career in 1937 in Edinburgh, moving to Inverness in 1942, and taking up an appointment as an Inspector of Schools in 1944, before becoming Rector of Oban High School in 1950 and retiring in 1966. He is still remembered with great affection by his former pupils, two of whom have had the privilege of editing this book and providing introductory essays explaining his background, achievements and techniques.
The long-awaited Còmhraidhean nan Cnoc: the nineteenth-century Gaelic prose dialogue was published at the turn of the year and is now available to buy.
Drawing on many years of research, Dr Sheila Kidd of Glasgow University has expertly edited 35 examples of the còmhradh drawn from Scottish, Canadian and Australian journals and dealing with a fascinating variety of topics. A scholarly introduction also sets the còmhradh in its historical and literary contexts.
The first of a new series of SGTS-sponsored annual lectures was delivered by Professor Emeritus Donald E. Meek on Monday 17 October 2016, in St George’s Tron Church, Buchanan St, Glasgow, on the theme:
‘Dugald Buchanan (1716‒1768): man, myth and scholarly circle.’
Prof. Meek edited the SGTS annual volume 2016: Laoidhean spioradail Dhùghaill Bhochanain: Deasachadh ùr is ath-sgrùdadh air beatha is saothair a’ bhàird.