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).

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

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.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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(2) Whilst Riach concentrates on Burnsian themes and anathemas in MacDiarmid's Penny Wheep and A Drunk Man Looks at the Thistle (1926), Crawford reveals the importance of Grieves early involvement in the Burns Federation--the umbrella institution created in 1885 to gather most Burns clubs in Scotland and Empire--on his subsequent development as a Scots poet.
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Derrick McClure's 'Poetry in Scots since the Twentieth-Century Renaissance', the poetry which came after MacDiarmid's initial publications also show how language had to be developed and how Scots poets such as Albert Mackie were calling for an effort to ensure that, as McClure so rightly puts it, 'the national poetic scene [...] is not simply changed from a one-man show to a duet of MacDiarmid and Bums.' McClure's article also proves, in his discussion of Pittendrigh MacGillivray, Charles Murray, Lewis Spence, Violet Jacob, Marion Angus and others, that MacDiarmid should not be given the sole credit for the Scottish Renaissance or indeed, for the interest generated in Scots language from previous centuries, which had inspired this corpus of work.
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(former home of the poet Hugh MacDiarmid) from 1993 to 1995, at the
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