powered by FreeFind

Home > Publications > Books > Scotnotes > The Poetry of Sorley MacLean



SCOTNOTES Study Guides

The Poetry of

Emma Dymock

Published in: Paperback.
By: Association for Scottish Literary Studies, 2011
Price: £5.95
ISBN 978-1-906841-05-8

 Order this title from amazon.co.uk
Along with his contemporaries Edwin Morgan and Hugh MacDiarmid, Sorley MacLean is recognised as one of the most important Scottish poets of the twentieth century. Born at Oscaig on the island of Raasay in 1911, MacLean was greatly influenced by Gaelic tradition and by contemporary cultural and political ideas from around the world. In many ways he brought Scottish Gaelic poetry into the modern era, and he is a key figure in modern Scottish literature.

MacLean’s poetry ranges beyond Scotland to confront European and world events and politics. This book offers a detailed study of MacLean’s poems, providing insight into the context of his work. It also includes close readings of selected poems that best represent his key themes and ideas. This Scotnote is ideal for senior school pupils and students of all ages as a general introduction or as a starting point for more in-depth study.


  • Introduction
  • Dàin do Eimhir/ Poems to Eimhir – Pursuing the Muse Across the Landscape of Love
  • Sorley MacLean’s Poetry of Conscience: ‘Ban-Ghàdheal/ Highland Woman’ and ‘Calbharaigh/ Calvary’
  • Striving for the Heights of the Self – Political Commitment and ‘An Cuilithionn/ The Cuillin’
  • A Gael in the Desert – Sorley MacLean’s War Poems
  • A Resurgence of Nature and Poetry – ‘Hallaig’
  • MacLean’s Self-Sacrificial Hero in Ireland and Beyond
  • Affirming the Tradition – ‘Cumha Chaluim Iain MhicGill-Eain/ Elegy for Calum I. MacLean’
  • Conclusion
  • Select Bibliography


Also available:

15 Poems of Sorley MacLean
A Commentary

Readings by Sorley MacLean, with commentary by Iain Crichton Smith
These recordings of Sorley MacLean reading his poems, with commentary by that other great poet, Iain Crichton Smith, cover major themes of MacLean’s work, including social, political and religious issues and an exploration of Gaelic culture and the problems of its revival in a modern age.

CD: £9.95

An Cuilithionn 1939 / The Cuillin 1939
and Unpublished Poems

by Somhairle MacGill-Eain / Sorley MacLean;
ed. Christopher Whyte

A new edition of Sorley MacLean’s hugely powerful Gaelic political poem, with facing English translation. Also includes forty-five other previously unpublished works by MacLean.

Pbk: £12.50


Last updated 26 May 2011.