Lainnir a' Bhauirn: The Gleaming Water : Essays on Modern Gaelic Literature

By Emma Dymock; Wilson McLeod | Go to book overview

5
Sorley MacLean’s ‘Te Woods of Raasay’

Máire Ní Annracháin

‘Coilltean Ratharsair’ (‘Te Woods of Raasay’) (MacGill-Eain, 2011, pp. 54–69) is one of Sorley MacLean’s longest and most celebrated poems. Writing about it for a doctoral thesis more than twenty years ago, I was struck by its oneiric quality. Setting aside one of the guiding principles of my research at that time, namely to engage with poetry without reference to any views or comments the poet might have made about it, I asked Sorley MacLean about the sense it conveyed to me of a sudden and powerful eruption. He confirmed this impression, telling me that he had woken suddenly from sleep and begun straight away to write it and had finished it quickly, over the course of a few consecutive nights. The poem struck me at that time, and still does, as having a mythic quality, presenting an ecstatic account of a sunlit paradisiacal landscape, which yields to a new world of menace and the night. This impressionistic response was the impetus for an analysis of the poem that would focus on its mythic subject, namely the loss of paradise and the encounter with evil and death, and also on its invocation of various mythic sources through a combination of biblical, classical and Gaelic imagery and concepts.

The woods are described in the first, long section of the poem (eightyeight lines) in language that carries clear echoes from old strata of the Gaelic imaginative tradition, as well as a number of biblical echoes. Gaelic concepts of paradise are unmistakable in the harmony that exists between the speaker and the wood. This was the norm in much traditional Gaelic poetry, where nature responded metonymically to good stewardship on the part of the rightful sovereign by blossoming fruitfully in various ways, including exuberant birdsong, and conversely by withering when he died, sometimes falling silent, sometimes screaming in pain. In this poem the

-71-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Lainnir a' Bhauirn: The Gleaming Water : Essays on Modern Gaelic Literature
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this book
  • Bookmarks
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
/ 195

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.