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The Correspondence Between Hugh MacDiarmid and Sorley MacLean

An Annotated Edition

Edited by Susan R. Wilson

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This is both the first complete annotated edition of the letters exchanged by these major twentieth-century Scottish poets and the first major exploration of their long friendship and literary association. Spanning nearly fifty years, from 27 July 1934 to 23 July 1978, this engaging correspondence offers a revealing and sometimes intimate look at their lively dialogical exchanges on a broad range of topics from major historical events such as the Spanish Civil War and WW II, to the mundane challenges of daily life.

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About the Author

Dr Susan R. Wilson was a Sessional Lecturer in the Department of English at the University of Victoria, Canada.


'The Correspondence Between Hugh MacDiarmid and Sorley MacLean is an important publication, both in itself and for the ideas it provokes ... Wilson’s edition will fascinate anyone interested in literary translation. A missing piece from the 10,000-piece jigsaw of modernism, it provokes, too, reflections on the relationship between modernism and Anglophobia ... In her extended and thoughtful introduction, [Wilson] reproaches some recent Scottish academics for “ignoring the fact that in certain circumstances, nationalism may, in fact, result in positive outcomes which are creative and regenerative”.'

- Robert Crawford, Times Literary Supplement

'Wilson’s editorial work is admirably comprehensive with an informative introduction and detailed notes on the letters. She also includes at the end of the book the text of an interview which MacLean gave to an Irish journalist in 1986. In it he is unusually frank about incidents in his private life about which he was usually very reticent.'

- Paul Henderson Scott, The Sunday Herald

The Correspondence Between Hugh MacDiarmid and Sorley MacLean, edited by Susan Wilson, offers a wealth of illuminating insights into these towering literary figures of the mid-twentieth century ... The letters are alive with the energy and intimacy of the Scottish Renaissance. Dr Wilson's introductory essay gives a full and accessible resumé of the relevant political and literary background to the period, and there are helpful notes identifying the characters and events we meet within this precious body of letters.

- William Gillies, Professor of Celtic, University of Edinburgh (1979-2009)
...a significant addition to the canon of work on MacLean.
- Emma Dymock, University of Edinburgh, Scottish Literary Review