‘Towards a New Scotland’: Selfhood, History and the Scottish Renaissance

Scott Lyall

in Hugh MacDiarmid's Poetry and Politics of Place

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print August 2006 | ISBN: 9780748623341
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748652167 | DOI:
‘Towards a New Scotland’: Selfhood, History and the Scottish Renaissance

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This chapter establishes the historical basis of Hugh MacDiarmid’s nationalism in the First World War, before exploring how the Scottish modernism of the Renaissance he envisaged attempted to culturally institute a new, inclusive Scotland in political, religious and educational terms. His self-identification with Scotland, and his desire to culturally and politically free the nation from what in Lucky Poet he calls ‘the mystery of Scotland’s self-suppression’, was ignited during the First World War. MacDiarmid adapted the generalist tools of the Scottish democratic intellect to stimulate a modern Scottish Renaissance and write the Scottish Republic. Grieve’s thinking during the war had turned to Neo-Catholicism as a means to save Scotland’s soul. MacDiarmid, the autodidact, shows his awareness of the history of Scottish education. His own education, and the history of his refashioning of self and Scotland, began at home, in the Langholm Library.

Keywords: Scottish modernism; Scottish Renaissance; Hugh MacDiarmid; Scotland; First World War; nationalism; Scottish Republic; Scottish education

Chapter.  14293 words. 

Subjects: Literary Studies (Poetry and Poets)

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