The First World War and the 20th century in the history of Gaelic Scotland: a preliminary analysis

Bartlett, Niall Somhairle Finlayson (2014) The First World War and the 20th century in the history of Gaelic Scotland: a preliminary analysis. MPhil(R) thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Abstract

This thesis considers the place which the First World War and the trends in 20th century Gaelic history associated with its aftermath have in the study of the modern Highlands. The conflict's treatment in established academic works like James Hunter's The Making of the Crofting Community is discussed to highlight the way that the continued emphasis of the land issue into the 20th century, because of land hunger's 19th century prominence, has marginalised the First World War. Because of this, the War's significance in undermining the social cohesion and cultural certainties which supported Highland land politics is overlooked. As a consequence, the trajectory of 20th century Highland history, which is a movement away from the themes which defined the 19th, is obscured. The preconceptions about Gaelic culture which cause this are examined. Considering the post-war trends of Highland history leads to an exploration of the precedents which existed for them in the pre-war Highlands. This involves analysing examples of a nascent urge for the industrialism, commercialism, and modernity which Gaels would increasingly embrace after the First World War, and doing so in a period where traditional Gaelic society was still cohesive and the land hunger at its height. The tension between this tradition and the incipient modernity of Gaels will be considered, with a view towards understanding what the First World War changed within Gaelic society to precipitate the shift in outlook evident among Gaels after 1918. The impact of the First World War is analysed through a selection of Gaelic poetry which represents the changes the War induced in the identity of servicemen, their wives, and the older generation of Gaels, and what broader social changes may be inferred from these individual developments. Particular emphasis is placed upon the erosion among the servicemen of the traditional panegyric poetry through which they initially viewed the War, as their prolonged, extreme exposure to modern warfare undermined the martial precepts upon which this poetry, and the land politics it articulated, were based.

Item Type: Thesis (MPhil(R))
Qualification Level: Masters
Keywords: Gaelic, Scotland, First World War, Highlands, land politics, rural history, poetry, Scottish literature, crofting, Highland Clearances, Crofters War, Celtic, Celticism, Celtic Revival, Celtic language, Hebrides, modernity, Gaelic songs, British history, radicalism, 20th century culture, modernisation, urbanisation, industrialisation, trench poetry, war poetry, literary history, cultural history, Marxism, Scottish Gaelic society, Scottish Gaelic culture, land reform, land settlement
Subjects: D History General and Old World > D History (General) > D501 World War I
D History General and Old World > DA Great Britain
P Language and Literature > PB Modern European Languages > PB1501 Scottish Gaelic Language
P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN0441 Literary History
Colleges/Schools: College of Arts > School of Humanities > Celtic and Gaelic
College of Arts > School of Humanities > History
Funder's Name: UNSPECIFIED
Supervisor's Name: MacGregor, Dr. Martin
Date of Award: 2014
Depositing User: Mr Niall Somhairle Finlayson Bartlett
Unique ID: glathesis:2014-5235
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 23 Jun 2014 13:14
Last Modified: 23 Jun 2014 13:15
URI: http://theses.gla.ac.uk/id/eprint/5235

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