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Hugh MacDiarmid’s Impossible Community

Lyall, Scott




This chapter suggests two main related points. The overarching contention is that Hugh MacDiarmid was a poetic, political, polemical, and metaphysical impossibilist (rather than merely the extremist of caricature). More particularly, in an attempt to escape the impossible community of the Kailyard – provincial, retrogressive, Christian, Scotland-as-Brigadoon – MacDiarmid fashioned an equally impossible if conflicting community, profoundly singular yet ultimately spiritual, that nonetheless contained residual Kailyard archetypes. The argument is traced through examination of MacDiarmid’s attitude to the Kailyard; work relating to the small communities in which he lived and wrote, and to cities; and the question of his anti-Englishness.

Publication Date 2016-05
Deposit Date May 20, 2016
Publisher Brill Academic Publishers
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Pages 82-102
Book Title Community in Modern Scottish Literature
ISBN 9789004317444
Keywords Hugh McDiarmid; community; Scottish literature; Scottish politics; Kailyard; anti-Englishness;
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