Hugh MacDiarmid: Wikis

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Christopher Murray Grieve

A bust of MacDiarmid in South Gyle, Edinburgh
Born 11 August 1892
Langholm, Scotland
Died 9 September 1978
Edinburgh, Scotland
Pen name Hugh MacDiarmid
Occupation Poet
Literary movement Scottish Renaissance

Hugh MacDiarmid is the pen name of Christopher Murray Grieve (Scottish Gaelic: Crìsdean Mac a' Ghreidhir) (11 August 1892, Langholm[1] - 9 September 1978, Edinburgh[2]), a significant Scottish poet of the 20th century. He was instrumental in creating a Scottish version of modernism and was a leading light in the Scottish Renaissance of the 20th century. Unusually for a first generation modernist, he was a communist. Unusually for a communist, he was a committed Scottish nationalist. He wrote both in English and in literary Scots (often referred to as Lallans).

Contents

Early life and writings

After leaving school in 1910, MacDiarmid worked as a journalist for five years. He then served in the Royal Army Medical Corps during the First World War. After the war, he married and returned to journalism. His first book, Annals of the Five Senses (1923) was a mixture of prose and poetry in English, but he then turned to Scots for a series of books, culminating in what is probably his best known work, the book-length A Drunk Man Looks at the Thistle. This poem is widely regarded as one of the most important long poems in 20th century Scottish literature. After that, he published several books containing poems in both English and Scots.

Politics

In 1928, MacDiarmid helped found the National Party of Scotland. He was also a member of the Communist Party of Great Britain. During the 1930s, he was expelled from the former for being a communist and from the latter for being a nationalist. In 1956, MacDiarmid rejoined the Communist Party. In 1950, George Orwell compiled a list of suspected communist sympathisers for British intelligence. He included MacDiarmid in this list.

As Grieve, he stood in the 1950 election in the Glasgow Kelvingrove constituency, as the Scottish National Party candidate, coming last with 639 votes. He also stood against Alec Douglas-Home in Kinross and Western Perthshire for the Communist Party at the 1964 election, taking only 127 votes. MacDiarmid listed Anglophobia amongst his hobbies in his Who's Who entry.

Later writings

As his interest in science and linguistics increased, MacDiarmid found himself turning more and more to English as a means of expression so that most of his later poetry is written in that language. His ambition was to live up to Rilke's dictum that 'the poet must know everything' and to write a poetry that contained all knowledge. As a result, some of the later work is a kind of found poetry reusing text from a range of sources. This led to accusations of plagiarism, to which the poet's response was 'The greater the plagiarism the greater the work of art.' The great achievement of this late poetry is to attempt on an epic scale to capture the idea of a world without God in which all the facts the poetry deals with are scientifically verifiable.

MacDiarmid wrote a number of non-fiction prose works, including Scottish Eccentrics and his autobiography Lucky Poet. He also did a number of translations from Scottish Gaelic, including Duncan Ban MacIntyre's Praise of Ben Dorain, which were well received by native speakers including Sorley MacLean.

Places of interest

MacDiarmid grew up in the Scottish town of Langholm in Dumfries and Galloway. The town is home to a monument in his honour made of cast iron which takes the form of a large open book depicting images from his writings[3].

MacDiarmid lived in Montrose for a time where he worked for the local newspaper the Montrose Review.

MacDiarmid also lived on the isle of Whalsay in Shetland, in the unusually named place Sodom (Sudheim)

MacDiarmid Memorial near Langholm

Hugh MacDiarmid is commemorated in Makars' Court, outside The Writers' Museum, Lawnmarket, Edinburgh.

Selections for Makars' Court are made by The Writers' Museum, The Saltire Society and The Scottish Poetry Library.

Portrait in National Portrait Gallery primary collection

Hugh MacDiarmid sat for sculptor Alan Thornhill and a bronze was acquired by the National Portrait Gallery[4]. The terracotta original is held in the collection of the artist[5] The correspondence file relating to the MacDiarmid bust is held in the archive[6] of the Henry Moore Foundation's Henry Moore Institute in Leeds.

References

  1. ^ Bold, Alan. "MacDiarmid". London: Paladin, 1190. p 35.
  2. ^ Bold, Alan. "MacDiarmid". London: Paladin, 1190. p 493.
  3. ^ The MacDiarmid Memorial
  4. ^ bronze head of MacDiarmid in NPG Collection by Alan Thornhill
  5. ^ Terracotta head of Hugh MacDiarmid by Alan Thornhill
  6. ^ http://www.henry-moore-fdn.co.uk/matrix_engine/content.php?page_id=584 HMI Archive

Bibliography

  • Annals of the Five Senses (1923)
  • Sangschaw (1925)
  • Penny Wheep (1926)
  • A Drunk Man Looks at the Thistle (1926)
  • The Lucky Bag (1927)
  • To Circumjack Cencrastus (1930)
  • First Hymn to Lenin and Other Poems (1931)
  • Second Hymn to Lenin (1932)
  • Scots Unbound and Other Poems (1933)
  • Scottish Scene (1934) (collaboration with Lewis Grassic Gibbon)
  • Stony Limits and Other Poems (1935)
  • The Birlinn of Clanranald (1936)
  • Second Hymn to Lenin and Other Poems (1937)
  • Scottish Eccentrics (1938)
  • The Islands of Scotland (1939)
  • The Golden Treasury of Scottish Poetry (1940)
  • Lucky Poet (1943)
  • Speaking for Scotland (1946)
  • Poems of the East-West Synthesis (1946)
  • A Kist of Whistles (1947)
  • In Memoriam James Joyce (1955)
  • Three Hymns to Lenin (1957)
  • The Battle Continues (1958)
  • The Kind of Poetry I Want (1961)
  • Collected Poems (1962)
  • Poems to Paintings by William Johnstone 1933 (1963)
  • The Company I've Kept (1966)
  • A Lap of Honour (1967)
  • Early Lyrics (1968)
  • A Clyack-Sheaf (1969)
  • More Collected Poems (1970)
  • Selected Poems (1971)
  • The Hugh MacDiarmid Anthology (1972)
  • Dìreadh (1974)
  • The Complete Poems of Hugh MacDiarmid Volume 1 & 2 (1978)

References

Further reading

  • Duncan Glen (1964) Hugh Macdiarmid (Christopher Murray Grieve) and the Scottish Renaissance , Chambers, Edinburgh et al.
  • Michael Grieve and Alexander Scott (1972) The Hugh Macdiarmid Anthology: Poems in Scots and English, Routledge and Kegan Paul, London
  • Gordon Wright (1977) MacDiarmid: An Illustrated Biography, Gordon Wright Publishing
  • Alan Bold (1983) MacDiarmid: The Terrible Crystal, Routledge & Kegan Paul
  • Alan Bold (1984) Letters, Hamish Hamilton
  • Alan Bold (1988) MacDiarmid A Critical Biography, John Murray
  • John Baglow (1987) Hugh MacDiarmid: The Poetry of Self (criticism), McGill-Queen’s Press
  • Scott Lyall (2006) Hugh MacDiarmid's Poetry and Politics of Place: Imagining a Scottish Republic, Edinburgh University Press
  • Beth Junor (2007) Scarcely Ever Out of My Thoughts: The Letters of Valda Trevlyn Grieve to Christopher Murray Grieve (Hugh MacDiarmid) Word Power
  • Alan Riach (1991) Hugh MacDiarmid’s Epic Poetry, Edinburgh University Press

External links

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Christopher Murray Grieve
Born 11 August 1892
Langholm, Scotland
Died 9 September 1978
Edinburgh, Scotland
Pen name Hugh MacDiarmid
Occupation Poet
Literary movement Scottish Renaissance

Hugh MacDiarmid is the pen name of Christopher Murray Grieve (11 August 1892, Langholm[1] - 9 September 1978, Edinburgh[2]), a significant Scottish poet of the 20th century. He was instrumental in creating a Scottish version of modernism and was a leading light in the Scottish Renaissance of the 20th century. Unusually for a first generation modernist, he was a communist; unusually for a communist, however, he was a committed Scottish nationalist. He wrote both in English and in literary Scots (often referred to as Lallans).

Contents

Early life and writings

After leaving school in 1910, MacDiarmid worked as a journalist for five years. He then served in the Royal Army Medical Corps during the First World War. After the war, he married and returned to journalism. His first book, Annals of the Five Senses (1923) was a mixture of prose and poetry in English, but he then turned to Scots for a series of books, culminating in what is probably his best known work, the book-length A Drunk Man Looks at the Thistle. This poem is widely regarded as one of the most important long poems in 20th century Scottish literature. After that, he published several books containing poems in both English and Scots.

Politics

In 1928, MacDiarmid helped found the National Party of Scotland. He was also a member of the Communist Party of Great Britain. During the 1930s, he was expelled from the former for being a communist and from the latter for being a nationalist. In 1956, MacDiarmid rejoined the Communist Party. In 1950, George Orwell compiled a list of suspected communist sympathisers for British intelligence. He included MacDiarmid in this list.

As Grieve, he stood in the 1950 election in the Glasgow Kelvingrove constituency, as the Scottish National Party candidate, coming last with 639 votes. He also stood against Alec Douglas-Home in Kinross and Western Perthshire for the Communist Party at the 1964 election, taking only 127 votes. MacDiarmid listed Anglophobia amongst his hobbies in his Who's Who entry.

Later writings

As his interest in science and linguistics increased, MacDiarmid found himself turning more and more to English as a means of expression so that most of his later poetry is written in that language. His ambition was to live up to Rilke's dictum that 'the poet must know everything' and to write a poetry that contained all knowledge. As a result, many of the poems in Stony Limits (1934) and later volumes are a kind of found poetry reusing text from a range of sources. Just as he had used Jameson's dialect dictionary for his poems in 'synthetic Scots', so he used Chambers Twentieth Century Dictionary for poems such as 'On a Raised Beach'[3]. Other poems, including 'On a Raised Beach' and 'Etika Preobrazhennavo Erosa' used extensive passages of prose.[4][5]This practice, particularly in the poem 'Perfect', led to accusations of plagiarism[6] from supporters of the Welsh poet Glyn Jones, to which MacDiarmid's response was 'The greater the plagiarism the greater the work of art.' The great achievement of this late poetry is to attempt on an epic scale to capture the idea of a world without God in which all the facts the poetry deals with are scientifically verifiable.

MacDiarmid wrote a number of non-fiction prose works, including Scottish Eccentrics and his autobiography Lucky Poet. He also did a number of translations from Scottish Gaelic, including Duncan Ban MacIntyre's Praise of Ben Dorain, which were well received by native speakers including Sorley MacLean.

Places of interest

MacDiarmid grew up in the Scottish town of Langholm in Dumfries and Galloway. The town is home to a monument in his honour made of cast iron which takes the form of a large open book depicting images from his writings[7].

MacDiarmid lived in Montrose for a time where he worked for the local newspaper the Montrose Review.

MacDiarmid also lived on the isle of Whalsay in Shetland, in Sodom (Sudheim)

Hugh MacDiarmid is commemorated in Makars' Court, outside The Writers' Museum, Lawnmarket, Edinburgh.

Selections for Makars' Court are made by The Writers' Museum, The Saltire Society and The Scottish Poetry Library.

Portrait in National Portrait Gallery primary collection

Hugh MacDiarmid sat for sculptor Alan Thornhill and a bronze was acquired by the National Portrait Gallery[8]. The terracotta original is held in the collection of the artist[9] The correspondence file relating to the MacDiarmid bust is held in the archive[10] of the Henry Moore Foundation's Henry Moore Institute in Leeds.

References

  1. ^ Bold, Alan. "MacDiarmid". London: Paladin, 1190. p 35.
  2. ^ Bold, Alan. "MacDiarmid". London: Paladin, 1190. p 493.
  3. ^ M. H. Whitworth, ‘Hugh MacDiarmid and Chambers’s Twentieth Century Dictionary,’ Notes and Queries, 55 (2008), 78-80.
  4. ^ M. H. Whitworth, ‘Three Prose Sources for Hugh MacDiarmid’s “On a Raised Beach,”’ Notes and Queries, 54 (2007), 175-77
  5. ^ M. H. Whitworth, ‘Forms of Culture in Hugh MacDiarmid’s “Etika Preobrazhennavo Erosa,”’ International Journal of Scottish Literature, no.5 (Autumn/Winter 2009). www.ijsl. stir.ac.uk.
  6. ^ Hugh Gordon Porteus, letter, TLS (4 Feb. 1965), 87
  7. ^ The MacDiarmid Memorial
  8. ^ bronze head of MacDiarmid in NPG Collection by Alan Thornhill
  9. ^ Terracotta head of Hugh MacDiarmid by Alan Thornhill
  10. ^ http://www.henry-moore-fdn.co.uk/matrix_engine/content.php?page_id=584 HMI Archive

Bibliography

  • Annals of the Five Senses (1923)
  • Sangschaw (1925)
  • Penny Wheep (1926)
  • A Drunk Man Looks at the Thistle (1926)
  • The Lucky Bag (1927)
  • To Circumjack Cencrastus (1930)
  • First Hymn to Lenin and Other Poems (1931)
  • Second Hymn to Lenin (1932)
  • Scots Unbound and Other Poems (1933)
  • Scottish Scene (1934) (collaboration with Lewis Grassic Gibbon)
  • Stony Limits and Other Poems (1934)
  • The Birlinn of Clanranald (1936)
  • Second Hymn to Lenin and Other Poems (1937)
  • Scottish Eccentrics (1938)
  • The Islands of Scotland (1939)
  • The Golden Treasury of Scottish Poetry (1940)
  • Lucky Poet (1943)
  • Speaking for Scotland (1946)
  • Poems of the East-West Synthesis (1946)
  • A Kist of Whistles (1947)
  • In Memoriam James Joyce (1955)
  • Three Hymns to Lenin (1957)
  • The Battle Continues (1958)
  • The Kind of Poetry I Want (1961)
  • Collected Poems (1962)
  • Poems to Paintings by William Johnstone 1933 (1963)
  • The Company I've Kept (1966)
  • A Lap of Honour (1967)
  • Early Lyrics (1968)
  • A Clyack-Sheaf (1969)
  • More Collected Poems (1970)
  • Selected Poems (1971)
  • The Hugh MacDiarmid Anthology (1972)
  • Dìreadh (1974)
  • The Complete Poems of Hugh MacDiarmid Volume 1 & 2 (1978)

References

Further reading

  • Duncan Glen (1964) Hugh Macdiarmid (Christopher Murray Grieve) and the Scottish Renaissance , Chambers, Edinburgh et al.
  • Michael Grieve and Alexander Scott (1972) The Hugh Macdiarmid Anthology: Poems in Scots and English, Routledge and Kegan Paul, London
  • Gordon Wright (1977) MacDiarmid: An Illustrated Biography, Gordon Wright Publishing
  • Alan Bold (1983) MacDiarmid: The Terrible Crystal, Routledge & Kegan Paul
  • Alan Bold (1984) Letters, Hamish Hamilton
  • Alan Bold (1988) MacDiarmid A Critical Biography, John Murray
  • John Baglow (1987) Hugh MacDiarmid: The Poetry of Self (criticism), McGill-Queen’s Press
  • Scott Lyall (2006) Hugh MacDiarmid's Poetry and Politics of Place: Imagining a Scottish Republic, Edinburgh University Press
  • Beth Junor (2007) Scarcely Ever Out of My Thoughts: The Letters of Valda Trevlyn Grieve to Christopher Murray Grieve (Hugh MacDiarmid) Word Power
  • Alan Riach (1991) Hugh MacDiarmid’s Epic Poetry, Edinburgh University Press
  • An Anthology from X (Oxford University Press 1988). X (magazine) ran from 1959-62. Edited by the poet David Wright & the painter Patrick Swift. Contributors included MacDiarmid, Robert Graves, W.H. Auden, Samuel Beckett, et al.

External links


Quotes

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

Hugh MacDiarmid (11 August 18929 September 1978) is the pen name of Christopher Murray Grieve, who was a leading Scottish poet. He was a member of the Communist party and a prominent Scots Nationalist.

Sourced

  • I amna fou' sae muckle as tired - deid dune.
    It's gey and hard wark coupin' gless for gless
    Wi' Cruivie and Gilsanquhar and the like,
    And I'm no' juist as bauld as aince I wes.
  • I'll ha'e nae hauf-way hoose, but aye be whaur
    Extremes meet - it's the only way I ken
    To dodge the curst conceit o' bein' richt
    That damns the vast majority o' men.
    • Drunk Man Looks at the Thistle (1926), II.141-4
      • These lines are on MacDiarmid's tombstone
  • The number of people who can copulate properly may be few; the number who can write well are infinitely fewer.
    • Review of Lady Chatterley's Lover (1928)
  • If there's a sword-like sang
    That can cut Scotland clear
    O a' the warld beside
    Rax me the hilt o't here.

    For there's nae jewal till
    Frae the rest o earth it's free,
    Wi the starry separateness
    I'd fain to Scotland gie.
    • To Circumjack Cencrastus
  • The rose of all the world is not for me.
    I want for my part
    Only the little white rose of Scotland
    That smells sharp and sweet - and breaks the heart.
    • The Little White Rose

Unsourced

  • It is time we in Scotland put England in its proper place and instead of our leaning on England and taking inspiration from her, we should lean and turn to Europe, for it is there our future prosperity lies.

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