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Introduced by John Herdman, And the Cock Crew offers one of the most powerful and searching examinations of the Highland Clearances to be found in modern Scottish literature. Written during the 1930s and published in 1945, Fionn MacColla’s finest book maintains that the roots of all social change are to be found not in so-called "economic causes," but deep in the human heart. This searching and passionate novel, with its philosophical understanding of the dangers of the will to power and its passionate advocacy of old Gaelic ways, takes the familiar themes of freedom, obedience, and dispossession beyond the Clearances themselves and into the realms of the spirit. In prose style burning with the felt immediacy of the hills and glens in which the book is set, And the Cock Crew revolves around the central encounter between Fearchar the Gaelic poet, who speaks for tradition and continuity, and Maighstir Sachairi, the minister who heralds a more modern world of control, submission, and absolute necessity. At last available in print again, Fionn MacColla’s best-known novel has lost none of its power to challenge and disturb.
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Thomas Douglas Macdonald, born in Montrose in 1906, was brought up as a member of the Plymouth Brethren. Macdonald trained as a teacher in Aberdeen and took up his first post at the age of 19, as a headmaster in Wester Ross. In 1926 he went to Palestine, where he taught for three years in the United Free Church’s College at Safed. Returning to Scotland, he began to turn towards the Catholic faith and studied Gaelic at the University of Glasgow for a year. Macdonald chose the Gaelic pen name of Fionn MacColla, and spent the inter-war years struggling as a writer, publishing his first novel, The Albannach in 1932. And the Cock Crew, which was to become his best-known novel, was not published until 1945. In the following years he continued to work as a head teacher, mostly in the Highlands and Islands, before moving to Edinburgh in 1961. Fragments of another historical novel, set in Reformation times, appeared as "work-in-progress" under the titles of Scottish Noël (1958) and Ane Tryall of Heretics (1962), before being published (posthumously) as Move Up John in 1994. MacColla's strong views on Scottish Protestantism received philosophical expression in his study At the Sign of the Clenched Fist (1967), and were rehearsed again in his short autobiography Too Long in this Condition (1975). Despite being hailed by Hugh MacDiarmid as "intellectually equipped far beyond any of the new Scottish writers," MacColla had found publication difficult after the critical success of And the Cock Crew. A number of manuscripts and fragments were found among his papers after his death in 1975, including a novel in a more optimistic vein written during the 1950s, which was published as The Ministers in 1979.Review:
"To read this moving narrative is to understand the deeper emotions behind devolution." —Financial Times
"Here is true Gaelic poetry set in beautiful forms, here is a tale too fascinating to be put down easily or forgotten readily, here is a work of art so deeply moving that tears are often near the surface." —Methodist Recorder
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Book Description Canongate UK, 2009. Paperback. Condition: New. book. Seller Inventory # M0862415365