Sunday, March 30, 2008

Henderson on MacDiarmid

They had a tempestuous relationship, Hamish Henderson and Hugh MacDiarmid, culminating, of course, in the famous flyting in the pages of The Scotsman. But there's no denying their mutual respect. This is Hamish on MacDiarmid:

[MacDiarmid's] view of people and human society arises so inevitably from his vision of nature, that had he never written a line of political verse his writing would still be an inspiration to those who believe in the infinite diversity, and the rightness of the diversity of man, and of man's relations to man. And this is something we must understand if we are ever to understand MacDiarmid, this delight in the diversity of nature, and the hatred of all forms of falsehood which try to impose order from above, and ignore or break down natural differences.

That seems a very Scottish perspective to me, a Scottish internationalist one. It's one of those curious paradoxes that Scots, such (at times overly) patriotic people, make such fine internationalists.

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