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Edited by Alan Riach
Hugh MacDiarmid's biographies of the eccentric, impulsive Scottish genius is one of his most enthralling prose works.
Macdiarmid's study of both famous and forgotten eccentrics becomes a study of individualism and national identity. He focuses on ten characters from the seventeenth, eighteenth and nineteenth centuries; shorter sketches of otehr individuals are also included. The book culminates in an epilogue: the 'Strange Procession' of men and women whose characteristic qualities display the unpredictable energies, the extremes of human behaviour, associated with 'The Caledonian Antisyzgy' - the close association of gargoyle and saint.
Written in the Shetlands and first in 1936, Scottish Eccentrics was reprinted in 1972 in a limited edition whcih quickly went out of print. This timely new edition, prepared by Alan Riach, includes Norman MacCaig's eloquent essay on MacDiarmid
1. Lord George Gordon
2. Sir Thomas Urquhart, the Knight of Cromarty
3. The Great McGonagall
4. James Hogg, the Ettrick Shepherd
5. "Christopher North" (Professor John Wilson)
6. The Strange Case of William Berry
7. Thomas Davidson, and the fellowship of the New Life
8. Elspeth Buchan, Friend Mother in the Lord
9. James Burnett, Lord Monboddo
10."Ossian" MacPherson and William Lauder
11. Epilogue: The Strange Procession
12. The Caledonian Antisyzgy
Praise for Hugh MacDiarmid 'Watch him, an angel's set his tongue on fire.'
'Lord God, this fellow is a poet, singing a song even when pain seizes him, or the woe of the world murmurs in his heart'
'Every door in any town should be wide open to that great lyric poet Hugh MacDiarmid.'
'These great people like MacDiarmid are a bit scary, '
Liz Lochhead 'Riach has done Scottish literature a great service in masterminding the Carcanet edition of the works of Hugh MacDiarmid...'
Times Literary Supplement
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