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Scottish Eccentrics
By Hugh MacDiarmid

The distinguished Scottish poet and literary critic who writes this book recalls how Bernard Shaw in On The Rocks ironically declares that the massacres after the Battle of Culloden were not "murder" but simply "liquidation," since the slain Scots in question were "incompatible with British civilization." He then surveys the whole field of Scottish biography, and shows how true this has proved of an amazing number of distinguished Scots, no matter how successfully the bulk of the Scottish people have been assimilated to English standards since the Union. The facts are irresistible and bring out the "eccentricity" of Scottish genius in an extraordinary fashion.

The author gives full-length studies often outstanding Scottish eccentrics, including Lord George Gordon of the "Gordon Riots"; Sir Thomas Urquhart, the translator of 'Rabelais', "Christopher North"; "Ossian" (James Macpherson, M.P.); James Hogg, the Ettrick Shepherd; and William McGonagall, perhaps the world's best "bad poet". But he supports these leading cases with apt material drawn from the lives of hundreds of Scots of every period in history and every walk of life, and in this way builds up a brilliant panoramic picture of Scottish psychology through the ages, singularly at variance with all generally accepted views of the national character.

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