Highland Canon Fodder:
Scottish Gaelic Literature
in North American Contexts
Michael Newton, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
The assessment of the influence of Scottish literature and literary practice abroad, especially in the context of Scottish diasporas, has generally focused on fiction in English, particularly in the form of the novel. Missing from this approach is a large body of Scottish Gaelic literature, primarily oral poetry, which has been composed in a sustained literary tradition that extends from the medieval period in Scotland to the present day in North America. This article reviews the evidence for Gaelic literary continuity in the North American diaspora in terms of the literary conventions that have determined the forms of literary production, the iconic figures and literary culture signifiers invoked by authors, and the statements made by authors in their texts that reflect self-consciousness about the tradition in which they worked and to which they belonged.
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