Hugh MacDiarmid

by Christopher Murray Grieve

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Hugh MacDiarmid’s combination of Scots nationalism, Marxism, modernism, and Christian mysticism has long fascinated and confounded his readers. His extraordinary capabilities with language have earned him admirers and made his work much less accessible than that of other writers of similar ability. Writing long poems in synthetic Scots, which resembles but does not correspond precisely to standard English, MacDiarmid succeeded in his ambition to be a national poet of international importance. He would not have been displeased with the controversies that continue about his life and art.

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