Fiona Paterson

Research title: ‘Poetry and the Idea of ‘World Language’ in Hugh MacDiarmid’s In Memoriam James Joyce (1955)’

Research Summary

My thesis explores Hugh MacDiarmid's poetry as the development of 'A Vision of World Language', analysed against the backdrop of growing interest and debate in 'world literature' studies and the role of Scotland and Scottish modernism within this.

Charting the evolution of his poetic development, my thesis begins before the publication of 'A Drunk Man Looks at the Thistle' in 1926 and culminates after the publication of In Memoriam James Joyce in 1955. The first of these historical moments is contextualised by a post-WWI, post-Russian revolution, General Strike Scotland; the second by increased global demand for the autonomy of independent nations, post-WWII, pre-Cold War, amidst the breakdown of the British Empire. This shift is reflected in the range of language and sources which MacDiarmid borrows and translates from in his poetry, illustrative of his enduring yet continually-evolving proposition of an internationally nationalist mode of artistic production, collaboration and communication. 

I take into account MacDiarmid's adaptation of foreign language poetry into Scots and English and his referentiality to a wide range of 'global' sources, alongside biographical and historical research into the international networks of correspondence and travels which he pursued and sustained, particularly in later years. 


Andrew Tannahill Fund (£500), 2020. 

Andrew Tannahill Fund (£3843), 2018.


Scottish Literature 1A

Scottish Literature 1B

Additional Information

Editor, The Kelvingrove Review, 2020-21.

Students' Representative Council College of Arts Postgraduate Convenor, 2018-20.