Chair: Aled Llion Jones
’S e raon gu h-iomraiteach doirbh a mhìneachadh a tha san litreachas choimeasach, no comparative literature; gheibhear tuairisgeul eadar-dhealaichte air bho gach neach-coimeis, no comparatist, dhem faighnichear. Sa phàipear seo, an àite a bhith a’ strì ris an raon air fad a mhìneachadh, feuchaidh mi sgeids ro-ìreach a dhèanamh air raon nas lugha air am b’ urrainn duinn 'litreachas coimeasach na Gàidhlig' a thoirt.
Mar a chuimhnicheas Pàdraig MacAoidh agus Niall O’Gallagher sinn, 'cha robh litreachas na Gàidhlig a-riamh na eilean, na aonar, gun cheanglaichean ri litreachasan eile'. Leis a’ chuimhneachadh sin mar thoiseach tòiseachaidh, molaidh mi ceithir pròiseactan, bhon fhear as fharsainge chun an fhir as mionaidiche, a sheallas oir-loidhnichean raon an litreachais choimeasaich Ghàidhlig. ’S i mo phrìomh-cheist: dè ar dàimh, ann an saoghal breithneachadh litreachas na Gàidhlig, ri cultaran, cànanan (gu sònraichte), agus coincheapan a thig à co-theacsaichean (cultarail, cànanach, coincheapail) eadar-dhealaichte bho shaoghal na Gàidhlig fhèin? Dè an t-àite a tha aig a’ Ghàidhlig, a cultar, agus a litreachas anns an t-saoghal, seach (dìreach) ann an Alba, no fiù ’s ann an Alba Nuadh? Agus ciamar a tha sinn gar suidheachadh fhìn san t-saoghal mar luchd-breithneachaidh litreachas na Gàidhlig?
Comparative literature is a notoriously difficult field to define; any comparatist who is asked will give a different explanation of it. In this paper, instead of struggling to define the field as a whole, I will attempt to make a preliminary sketch of a smaller field that we might call 'Gaelic comparative literature'.
As Pàdraig MacAoidh and Niall O’Gallagher remind us, '[Gaelic literature was never an island, alone, without links to other literatures]'. With that reminder as a starting point, I will suggest four projects, from the broadest to the most specific, that can show the outlines of the field of Gaelic comparative literature. My primary question is: what is our relationship, in the world of Gaelic literary criticism, to cultures, languages (especially), and concepts that come from (cultural, linguistic, conceptual) contexts other than the Gaelic world itself? What is the place of Gaelic, its culture, and its literature in the the world, rather than (just) in Scotland, or even in Nova Scotia? And how do we situate ourselves in the world as Gaelic literary critics?
The present paper deals with the relationship between the Czech National Revival and the Gaelic revivalist movement in Scotland at the end of the nineteenth century and beginning of the twentieth. It is well known that the European national movements were initially strongly inspired by the Scottish romanticism personified by James Macpherson and his Ossian cycle. However, researchers rarely study European continental nationalism as a source of inspiration for Celtic revivalist movements. The Scottish An Comunn Gàidhealach did, at the turn of the century show an interest in the experiences of the so-called small nations of Europe, following the climax of their national endeavors, and it commented on them in its publications.
In this study, we focus on the Czech national revival and how it was represented in Gaelic revivalist publications. Key questions are the following: what was the attitude of the Gaelic revivalists towards the Czech national movement; did they consider it to be inspirational, or did they rather dismiss it? These questions are particularly intriguing considering the fact that the English intelligentsia in the same period made considerable appeal to the example of Hungarian emancipation.