William Soutar and Hugh MacDiarmid: A Friendship Betrayed?

Barnaby, P. (Speaker)

Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesPublic Engagement – Public lecture/debate/seminar


An illustrated talk for the Friends of William Soutar Society based on the treasure trove of Soutar manuscripts held by Edinburgh University Library and the many items of Soutar interest in the university’s Hugh MacDiarmid Archive. MacDiarmid was Soutar’s friend, the mentor who published some of his earliest poems. Yet when he edited a posthumous edition of Soutar’s Collected Poems, he underplayed Soutar’s true significance. Drawing on more than 30 letters from Soutar to MacDiarmid (some featuring pen-and-ink caricature sketches of MacDiarmid), this talk explored the argumentative friendship between the two poets, shedding new light on why MacDiarmid dealt such a damaging blow to Soutar’s literary reputation.
Period24 Apr 2014
Event typeOther


  • Hugh MacDiarmid
  • William Soutar
  • Edinburgh University Library