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Encyclopedia > Scottish Renaissance

The Scottish version of modernism, the Scottish literary renaissance was begun by Hugh MacDiarmid in the 1920s when he abandoned his English language poetry and began to write in Lallans. This had an electrifying effect on the literary landscape of the time. Other poets, among them Sydney Goodsir Smith and William Soutar, soon followed in MacDiarmid's footsteps and also wrote in Lallans. Although sometimes accused of neglecting the Gaelic side of Scotland's linguistic identity, in actual fact it inspired poets in the language too, and its more positive effects in Scottish Gaelic literature are still being felt.

MacDiarmid's influence, however, went much further than this. By networking and bringing writers together he managed to create the sense of a literary movement in Scotland of writers with shared aims. Neil M Gunn, Lewis Grassic Gibbon, Edwin Muir, Sorley MacLean and many others felt the benefit of his influence, and are also generally referred to as being part of the Renaissance.



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