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The Life and Legacy of Alexander Carmichael

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Edited by Domhnall Uilleam Stiùbhart

A ground-breaking collection of essays celebrating the life and legacy of one of the most fascinating and controversial Scots of his time, the folklorist Alexander Carmichael (1832–1912). Carmichael devoted his adult life to collecting the extraordinarily rich oral tradition of the people of his native Highlands, above all in the Outer Hebrides where he spent nearly twenty years. Much of this material was edited and published in the six volumes of Carmina Gadelica (1900–71), a magnificent treasure-trove of Gaelic charms, hymns, poems, songs, and stories which has captivated and intrigued readers worldwide ever since.
The Life and Legacy of Alexander Carmichael presents the fruits of a four-day conference held in the Island of Benbecula in July 2006 under the auspices of The Islands Book Trust. Bringing together contributions from academic and local Hebridean scholars alike, it allows us for the first time to appreciate and evaluate the astonishing range and influence of Carmichael’s work. Alexander Carmichael is famous today as the inspirer of the ‘Celtic Christianity’ movement, and the cause of one of the most bitterly fought scholarly controversies in Scotland for a generation. This collection reminds us that he was also perhaps the greatest folklore collector of his age, the editor and creator of one of the most remarkable art books of the twentieth century, a figurehead for the Scottish Celtic Revival, and a man who dedicated his life to upholding and promoting the culture, traditions, and interests of his own people.

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