Gaelic literature

Modern Scots Gaelic

The connections between Gaelic Scotland and Gaelic Ireland were close until the rise of Presbyterianism in Scotland. Since the 16th cent., Scots Gaelic has had a literature of its own. The great event of modern Scots Gaelic culture is "the '45," when Bonnie Prince Charlie (Charles Edward Stuart) led the Jacobites in an ultimately unsuccessful uprising. There was a great burst of poetry that defied the repressive measures of Parliament and mourned the English triumph. The poet par excellence of the rebellion was Alexander Macdonald (MacMaster Alasdair); he was more original than Duncan Ban McIntyre, whose poems recall older forms and older themes. At the end of the century came James Macpherson's famous forgery Ossian, supposedly the work of a 3d-century Irish bard.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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