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Annual Volume 31 (2001)


Somhairle MacGill-Eain
Sorley MacLean

Edited by Christopher Whyte

Published in: Paperback.
By: Association for Scottish Literary Studies, Glasgow, May 2002.
Price: £12.50.
ISBN 978-0-948877-50-6

Hardback edition: £25.00
ISBN 978-0-948877-49-0

This title is now OUT OF PRINT: a NEW EDITION is available from Birlinn Press.

JOINT WINNER of the National Library of Scotland/Saltire Society Research Book of the Year Award 2002


“It is very moving to view the cycle as a whole for the first time – English translations are provided, either the poet’s own or Whyte’s literal versions – but perhaps more significantly, Whyte’s comprehensive notes and introduction construct a European and indeed world poetic context that really does justice to MacLean’s immense learning and skill. The cycle, Whyte says, offers ‘a truly dazzling range of literary references and intertextualities, indicative of MacLean’s success in turning his bilingual and bicultural situation to advantage’.”
Scotland on Sunday

“The book is clearly an act of love, beautifully produced, with a helpful introduction and encyclopedic notes on the social and political context of the poems.”
The Herald

“This book deserves a place, not only on any poetry lover’s bookshelf, but in their heart and mind, too. There is not a poet in existence today whose work is quite like that of Sorley MacLean. It is surely now time to hope that his enormous contribution to world literature is finally given the true recognition it deserves.
     “This is one of the most moving books you will ever read, a towering work of obsessive love, enduring humanity and uniquely elegant insight. Scotland – and Europe – should be proud.”
The Scotsman


Though it is widely regarded as his greatest achievement, Sorley MacLean’s cycle of love lyrics Dàin do Eimhir (Poems to Eimhir) was only published in part during his life time. Drawing on manuscript and published sources, this edition brings together all but one of the poems, including six which have never before appeared in print. With facing English translations throughout, an authoritative introduction and an extensive commentary on each poem, detailing cultural, historical and political references, it makes a major masterpiece of Gaelic poetry in the 20th century fully available to the general public for the first time.

Christopher Whyte is himself a Gaelic poet, the author of four novels in English, and is currently Reader in the Department of Scottish Literature at Glasgow University.

Cover illustration: “The Small Isles”, Denis Peploe RSA (1914-1993). Illustration courtesy of artist’s family.
Cover design by Mark Blackadder

The Poems
Dating Letter
Autobiographical Sketch

Last updated 9 August 2010.