Displaced Poets
: Migrant Writing from the Margins of Movement and Memory in a Diasporic and Transgressive Scottish Gaelic Context

  • Iain S. MacPherson

    Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


    This PhD by Published Works concerns the Scottish Gaelic literary engagement with boundaries and bodies: and the transgressing of both. From the earliest piece, which looks at two diasporic Scottish Gaelic song-poems of emigration and immigration to the British North American colony of Prince Edward Island (PEI), the work provides hermeneutical closing reading given to further iterations of Canadian Scottish Gaelic song-poems enacting the socio-historical polemic of the merits or demerits of leaving the Scottish Gàidhealtachd for life in the New World. From the published works, five of them focus on these instances of diasporic oral literature from PEI to Western Canada with notions of ‘enracinement’ and ‘errance’ coming from the post-colonial critical discourse of ‘ecriture migrante’ (‘migrant writing’). Of the remaining two works, one engages with Scottish Gaelic prose from a twentieth-century author and his notions of alienation and migration bolstered by and infused with the work of Albert Camus: an instance then of Gaelic-French comparative literary studies. The
    final work revolves around translation and the body politic-poetic as seen in Scottish Gaelic ‘transgressive’ works from the fifteenth century to the present: here notions of ‘enracinement’ and ‘errance’ are brought into critical play in the manner in which two major poets in the anthology inhabit and enact these notions of ‘rootedness’ and ‘wandering’ in their respective bodies of work. Throughout the thesis, attention is given to treating the diasporic texts, in the first instance, and the prose and anthologised poetry in the second, to close-readings of a modern literary critical discourse: treating the text (whether written or orally composed and transcribed) qua text. It adds to the body of literary studies of minority languages as it treats important rarely (if ever) studied texts of Scottish Gaelic migrant writing from the margins of empire. It also engages with post-colonial discourses of ‘migrant writing’ and the socio-historical field of ‘migration studies’ to bolster and buttress the critical work.
    Date of AwardJun 2020
    Original languageEnglish
    SupervisorMalachy O Neill (Supervisor) & Fionntan De Brun (Supervisor)


    • Scottish Gaelic Studies
    • Diasporic Studies
    • Literary Criticism
    • Critical Close Reading
    • Scottish Gaelic Poetry
    • Canadian Studies
    • Post-Colonial Studies
    • Translation Studies
    • Prose Criticism
    • Comparative Literature

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