Hugh MacDiarmid

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MacDiarmid, Hugh

(məkdûr`mĭd, –mĭt), pseud. of

Christopher Murray Grieve,

1892–1978, Scottish poet and critic, b. Langholm, Dumfrieshire. Passionately devoted to Communism and to Scottish independence from England, he was a founder of the Scottish Nationalist Party in 1928. He was the core figure in the "Scottish renaissance" of the interwar years. Among his many works are At the Sign of the Thistle (1934), essays; A Drunk Man Looks at the Thistle (1962, rev. ed. 1971), a long poem castigating his fellow Scots; Collected Poems (1962), More Collected Poems (1971), and The Socialist Poems (1978). MacDiarmid was a masterful poet in both English and Scots, which he revived as a modern literary language.


See his autobiography, Lucky Poet (1943, rev. ed. 1972); studies by D. Glen (1972), A. C. Davis and P. C. Scott (1980).

Macdiarmid, Hugh


(pen name of Christopher Murray Grieve). Born Aug. 11, 1892, in Langholm, Dumfriesshire. Scottish poet, critic, and translator. Member of the Communist Party of Great Britain.

Macdiarmid’s first collection of poems was A Drunk Man Looks at the Thistle (1926). It was followed by First Hymn to Lenin (1931), Second Hymn to Lenin (1935), and The Battle Continues (1957). Macdiarmid is one of the leaders of the “Renaissance” in Scottish poetry; in his poetry he celebrates the natural beauties of his native country, its people, and its history. He is a fighter for peace and has written poems about the participants in the National Revolutionary War in Spain (1936-39). Macdiarmid is a collector and researcher of Scottish folk poetry.


The Company I’ve Kept: Essays in Autobiography. London, 1966.
The Uncanny Scot: A Selection of Prose. [London, 1968.]
Selected Essays. London [1969].
Selected Poems. Harmondsworth, 1970.
Lucky Poet. London, 1972.
In Russian translation:
“O Lenine.” Internatsional–naia literatura, 1939, no. 1.


Kettl, A. “Angliiskaia literatura v 1955 g.” Inostrannaia literatura, 1956, no. 4.
Zhukov, D. “Postoianstvo.” Inostrannaia literatura, 1963, no. 5.
Buthlay, K. Hugh MacDiarmid. London, 1964.
Glenn, D. Hugh MacDiarmid and the Scottish Renaissance. London, 1964.
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Although Hart derives his main concept of the synthetic vernacular from the poetics of Hugh MacDiarmid, he persuasively explains why the concept also applies to Basil Bunting, Edward Kamau Brathwaite, and Melvin Tolson.
Yeats and Hugh MacDiarmid examines a cluster of tensions between nationalism and internationalism, modernity and modernism, tradition and innovation that are also taken up by other contributors in different contexts; and the influence of Yeats and MacDiarmid--for good or ill--on Irish and Scottish literary culture is a further thread that runs the length of the book.
Scots poet Hugh MacDiarmid described Edinburgh as 'a mad god's dream', but even the maddest of gods couldn't have dreamt up a more inspiring setting for the world's biggest, most exhilarating, most over-the-top festivals: L onely Planet
The central figures discussed in Nations of Nothing But Poetry are Hugh MacDiarmid, Basil Bunting, Kamau Brathwaite, Melvin B.
Among the topics are the branch societies of the Highland Society of London, Scottish Gaelic in Argentina, Scottish Highlanders and First Nations, Hugh MacDiarmid and Sorley MacLean as correspondents and collaborators, media ecology for the Gaidhealtachd, the role of new media in Scotland's Gaelic digital service, and an introduction to Manx Gaelic.
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