Discovering and sharing the history of Scotland’s island communities

Alexander MacDonald

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Bard of the Gaelic Enlightenment

Modern poetry in Scottish Gaelic begins with the brilliant, controversial figure of Alexander MacDonald, better known as Alasdair mac Mhaighstir Alasdair. Alasdair belonged to the Clanranald heartland of Moidart in West Lochaber and his life followed the fortune of his clan at the time of the ‘45. A larger than life character, he was a heroic figure, inspirational and visionary in turn, his heartbeat in tune with the events of his time. Hailed as the most original and innovative poet of the 18th century, he brought new life and vitality to Gaelic poetry. Alasdair was at once an antiquarian revivalist and formal innovator, a committed writer about the politics of his time and a literary craftsman, interested in the development of poetic form.
This book brings together papers from a series of conferences which took place at Glenfinnan, Strontian and Canna. Shedding light on various aspects of Alasdair’s rich life and work, the book will also enable the reader to explore the locations associated with him in West Lochaber through the eyes of one of the most fascinating and complex characters in Scottish literature.

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