Poetry by Donnchadh Bàn Mac an t-Saoir: The manuscript evidence

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Abstract / Description of output

We know of manuscript texts of several poems composed by Donnchadh Bàn Mac an t-Saoir (1724-1812). One text is found in the MacDiarmid collection, four were in the now lost MacNicol collection, and the remaining seven are part of the McLagan collection, held in Glasgow University Library (MS Gen. 1042). Three of these texts are nature poems, one is a lament, and one is a praise poem, and the remaining four are satires; in addition, some of these songs also had a separate existence as printed pamphlets. Donnchadh Bàn’s poetry was first published in 1768, followed by another two editions during his lifetime alone, and this early canonisation meant that there is little extant evidence of his poetry from either oral or manuscript sources. Collectors were generally motivated by specific agendas that did not include the acquisition of material already freely available in print, and this availability would have served to encourage the assimilation of any songs current in oral tradition to the prestigious printed standard. The paper considers the relationship of the manuscript texts with their printed counterparts, and looks at their significance in the context of the collections that contain them, especially the McLagan Collection which is one of our most important sources for the understanding of eighteenth-century literary culture, both oral and written, in the Gàidhealtachd.
Original languageMultiple languages
Title of host publicationSeumas MacLathagain agus a Làmh-Sgrìobhainnean
EditorsSim Innes, Geraldine Parsons
PublisherScottish Gaelic Texts Society
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2018

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