Skip to Content


Last modified: 27 Feb 2018 16:38

Course Overview

This survey course is an introduction to Scottish Gaelic literature from the 17th century to the modern day. Scottish Gaelic has one of Europe's oldest secular literatures and this is an exciting choice for anyone with an interest in Scotland's history, literature and culture: it is taught using translated texts and originals for those whose Gaelic language is good enough. Students will gain new perspectives on key areas of Scottish society such as Jacobitism, the Clearances, the Highland Land Wars, the Celtic Twilight Movement and the Gaelic renaissance in the modern period. This course is suitable for anyone in Programme Year 2 with an interest in Scottish society.

Course Details

Study Type Undergraduate Level 2
Session Second Sub Session Credit Points 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits)
Campus Old Aberdeen Sustained Study No
  • Dr Michelle MacLeod

Qualification Prerequisites


What courses & programmes must have been taken before this course?

  • Any Undergraduate Programme (Studied)
  • Programme Level 2

What other courses must be taken with this course?


What courses cannot be taken with this course?


Are there a limited number of places available?


Course Description

This course is a comprehnsive survey of Scottish Gaelic literature in its social and historic context: the course will largely be taught through translation, although students who come to university with Gaelic will be expected to read texts in the original. This course considers major events in the history of Gaelic Scotland and looks at how the literature of that era can give us a better understanding of the people and events: we will consider poetry of the Jacobite era; the Clearances and the Highland Land Wars. We will also look at how the literatti reorganised themselves in the 20th century and attempted to create new literary modes including the novel, short story and drama. We will consider how the traditional bards continued to be important in their communities at the same time as some Gaelic poets became truly international. Writers likely to be studied include: Duncan Bàn MacIntyre, Alasdair Mac Mhaighstir Alasdair (Alasdair MacDonald), Màiri Mhòr nan Oran (Mary MacPherson), Domhall Ruadh Chorùna (Donald MacDonald), Donald Sinclair, Sorley Maclean, Iain Crichton Smith, Christopher Whyte, Tormod A' Bhocsair (Norman Campbell). The course will conclude with an examination of the current publishing patterns in Scottish Gaelic literature.

Degree Programmes for which this Course is Prescribed

  • MA Celtic and Anglo-Saxon Studies - Gaelic

Contact Teaching Time

22 hours

This is the total time spent in lectures, tutorials and other class teaching.

Teaching Breakdown


1st Attempt

  • 1500-word essay (50%)
  • 800-word comprehension (30%)
  • Presentation (20%)


  • Resubmission of failed elements within the assessment suite

Formative Assessment



Students will receive timely feedback to allow them sufficient time to improve their work.

Compatibility Mode

We have detected that you are have compatibility mode enabled or are using an old version of Internet Explorer. You either need to switch off compatibility mode for this site or upgrade your browser.