Research Output

Hugh MacDiarmid’s Impossible Community.

  This chapter suggests two main related points. The overarching contention is that Hugh MacDiarmid was a poetic, political, polemical, and metaphysical impossibilist (rather than merely the extremist of caricature). More particularly, in an attempt to escape the impossible community of the Kailyard – provincial, retrogressive, Christian, Scotland-as-Brigadoon – MacDiarmid fashioned an equally impossible if conflicting community, profoundly singular yet ultimately spiritual, that nonetheless contained residual Kailyard archetypes. The argument is traced through examination of MacDiarmid’s attitude to the Kailyard; work relating to the small communities in which he lived and wrote, and to cities; and the question of his anti-Englishness.

  • Type:

    Book Chapter

  • Date:

    01 May 2016

  • Publication Status:


  • Publisher

    Brill Rodopi

  • Library of Congress:

    PN0080 Criticism


Lyall, S. (2016). Hugh MacDiarmid’s Impossible Community. In S. Lyall (Ed.), Community in Modern Scottish Literature, 82-102. Brill Rodopi



Hugh McDiarmid; community; Scottish literature; Scottish politics; Kailyard; anti-Englishness;

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