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Sorley MacLean Annual Lecture with Professor Donald Meek

Factors and Bailiffs in Gaelic Literature and Folklore

Wednesday 20 March 2024 | 19:30
Talla Dhonaidh Chaimbeil, Sabhal Mòr Ostaig
Livestream will also be available

Among the stories and songs in Gaelic folklore and literature, some relate closely to the factors and the bailiffs that controlled Highland estates. They are particularly connected to the contention between these officers and the crofters and cotters in the nineteenth century.

It’s not usually ‘history’ that is found in these stories and songs, at least ‘history’ in the sense that we can we can rely on everything that they tell us about events of the time. They, or the people who created them, were not concerned with that kind of factual commemoration. But on the other hand, they contain a good measure of broader ‘truth’, if we take them as evidence of the way that people were feeling at the time they were composed, and of their desire to conquer the ‘enemies’ who were harassing them.

In this lecture, Professor Donald Meek will explore different varieties of story and song, composed in a range of locations from Sutherland to Mull, and evaluate the content and ‘psychology’ of each genre.

Donald Meek Sorley MacLean Lecture 2024

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