Scotland’s Harvest

Scottish Poetry and World War Two


This study is the first exploration of the impact of World War Two on Scottish poets of both the front line and the home front. World War One has always been thought of as a poet’s war, one of horror and futility. The poetry of World War Two, by contrast, has long languished in its shadow, though there was a much greater amount of it written. This book asks whether these poets felt they were grown for war or rather that they grew through war experience, with an emphasis on the possibilities of the future instead of cataloguing the senseless horror of the battlefield. How were the hopes of Scottish poets different from their English counterparts? How was their poetry different, and how did it impact on their later lives?

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Richie McCaffery is a freelance scholar and poet with a Ph.D in Scottish literature from the University of Glasgow. In 2020 he edited Sydney Goodsir Smith, Poet: Essays on His Life and Work (Brill, 2020).
Series Editors
Rhona Brown, University of Glasgow
John Corbett, BNU-HKBU United International College
Sarah Dunnigan, University of Edinburgh
Ronnie Young, University of Glasgow

Associate Editor
James McGonigal, University of Glasgow
Introduction : Growing for, or through, War?

PART 1: Combatants

1 ‘Mak siccar!’: Hamis h Henderson (1919–2002)

2 Committed and Confessional: Sorley MacLean (1911–1996)

3 ‘The Secret Hollow’: George Campbell Hay (1915–1984)

4 ‘Private Morgan’ and ‘Geerie’ the Kriegy: Edwin Morgan (1920–2010) and Robert Garioch (1909–1981)

5 The Second Rank: Other Scottish Poets in the Forces

PART 2: Non-Combatants

6 ‘The war for libertie!’ The Cases of Douglas Young (1913–1973) and Norman MacCaig (1910–1996)

7 The Home Front: Scottish Civilian Poets of World War Two

8 The Old Guard: Hugh MacDiarmid (1892–1978) and Edwin Muir (1888–1959)

9 ‘It does not mak siccar you ken aboot weemin’: Scottish Women Poets of World War Two

Conclusion: ‘The Harvest’

This book should be accessible to a range of people interested in the fields of war poetry and Scottish literature, from students through to scholars and to poets and creative writers.
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