The Voice of the People: Hamish Henderson and Scottish Cultural Politics

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Edinburgh University Press, 2015 - History - 232 pages

Examining Hamish Henderson's search for the radical voice of the people in modern Scotland

How might the alienation of the artist in modern Scotland be overcome? How do you incite a popular folk revival? Can a poet truly speak with the 'voice of the people'? And what happens to the writer who rejects print culture in favour of becoming Anon.? The life and times of polymath, scholar, author and folk-hero, Hamish Henderson (1919-2002), poses, and helps us to answer, these questions. This book examines his life-long commitment to finding a form of artistic expression suitable for post-war Europe. Though Henderson is a major figure in Scottish cultural history, his reputation is largely maintained through anecdotes and radical folk songs. This study explores his ideas in their intellectual, cultural and political contexts. It describes how all of his works - in war poetry, song collection, folklore scholarship, folksong revivalism, literary translation, and vicious public debates - reflect this desire to see the artist fully reintegrated in society.

Key Features:

  • Reclaims Hamish Henderson from the marginalia of Scottish literary history
  • Provides a hitherto unexplored perspective on twentieth-century Scottish cultural history
  • Situates Scottish literary and cultural debates in the broader context of intellectual and cultural developments in twentieth-century Europe and the US
  • Directly tackles the question of national identity in twentieth-century Scotland

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About the author (2015)

Corey Gibson is a lecturer in English Literature at the University of Groningen, Netherlands. Originally from Dumfries and Galloway, he was awarded his PhD from the University of Edinburgh in 2012. His work on Hamish Henderson earned him the Ross Roy Medal for excellence in Scottish Literary Research. And in 2013, he was the US-UK Fulbright Commission Scottish Studies Scholar, at the University of California, Berkeley.

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