Alistair MacLeod and the Gaelic Poetic Tradition

Douglas S Mack

in Scottish Literature and Postcolonial Literature

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print June 2011 | ISBN: 9780748637744
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748652143 | DOI:
Alistair MacLeod and the Gaelic Poetic Tradition

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This chapter describes how Gaelic poetic tradition has registered in the work of one of the most significant of postcolonial Canadian writers, Alistair MacLeod, whose work is vested with Scottish concerns. By reading this work comparatively, it illustrates the ways in which certain texts within and influenced by the tradition of Gaelic poetry provide a cogent challenge not only to forms of cultural imperialism such as those espoused by Dr Johnson but also to material conditions of historical and contemporary imperialism. Alexander MacDonald's development of the Gaelic tradition helped to shape writing beyond Scotland, especially the literature and culture of diaspora. MacLeod's Canadian novel No Great Mischief presents a notable point of comparison. This novel explores the links between the experiences of clann Chalum Ruaidh and other struggles against the power of imperialism internationally. Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart tells the story of imperial conquest from an African perspective.

Keywords: Alistair MacLeod; Gaelic poetic tradition; cultural imperialism; Alexander MacDonald; No Great Mischief; Chinua Achebe; Things Fall Apart

Chapter.  6146 words. 

Subjects: Literary Theory and Cultural Studies

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