This Collected Works of Sorley MacLean brings together published poetry from MacLean's own edited volumes of poetry, poetry previously published in various magazines, literary journals and anthologies, and poetry which has never been published before. The poems will be given in their original Gaelic with English translations. The volume opens with a biographical summary of Maclean's childhood on Raasay, his life at university and war experiences, and examines MacLean's effect on Gaelic and Scottish literature, and his literary, political and philosophical influences, which included Gaelic traditional song, Romanticism and Modernism, as well as Communism and Fascism.
Sorley MacLean was born on the island of Raasay in 1911. He was brought up within a family and community immersed in Gaelic language and culture, particularly song. He studied English at Edinburgh University from 1929, taking a first class honours degree. Despite this influence, he eventually adopted Gaelic as the medium most appropriate for his poetry. He translated much of his own work into English, opening it up to a wider public. Amongst other awards and honours, he received the Queen's Gold Medal for Poetry in 1990. He died in 1996 at the age of 85. Christopher Whyte is probably the greatest living expert on MacLean's poetry. His annotated editions of the "Dain do Eimhir" and "An Cuilithionn 1939" contained a significant quantity of hitherto unpublished material and have been met with acclaim. He is himself a Gaelic poet of substance whose fifth collection, "An Daolag Shionach," is due to appear in 2012. Author of four novels in English, he taught from 1990 to 2005 at the Department of Scottish Literature in Glasgow University. He now lives and writes full-time in Budapest. Emma Dymock gained a First Class Honours in Celtic at the University of Edinburgh in 2003, and has since completed an MSc on symbolism in twentieth-century Gaelic poetry and a PhD on themes of politics and concepts of the self in Sorley MacLean's "An Cuilithionn." She is currently a Post-Doctoral Fellow in the Department of Celtic and Scottish Studies at the University of Edinburgh and has written various articles and chapters on the subject of Sorley MacLean's poetry, as well as co-editing two books on Scottish and Gaelic literature."