Book Chapter

'Death’s Proletariat': Scottish Poets of the Second World War



Watson R (2007) 'Death’s Proletariat': Scottish Poets of the Second World War. In: Kendall T (ed.) The Oxford Handbook of British and Irish War Poetry. Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 315-339.

Some of the most remarkable poetry of the second world war came from Scottish poets who served in the North African campaign. While determinedly opposed to fascism, a number of them were less than fully sympathetic to the political and social system they were fighting to defend. The strangeness of the desert landscape led Hamish Henderson and Sorley MacLean to reflect on the common fate of all soldiers caught up in a global battle between rival imperial projects; while the plight of the people of North Africa led George Campbell Hay to reflect on his own roots in a Gaelic speaking community that was, in effect, a stranger in its own land and alien to its own government.

Poets of the Second World war; Scottish War poetry; G S Fraser; Robert Garioch; George Campbell Hay; Burns Singer; Hamish Henderson; Sorley MacLean; Sydney Goodsir Smith; Edwin Morgan; English poetry Scottish authors; Scottish poetry 20th century; World War, 1939-1945, Campaigns Africa, North; Fraser, G. S. (George Sutherland), 1915-1980; Garioch, Robert; Hay, George Campbell; Singer, Burns; Henderson, Hamish; MacLean, Sorley, 1911-1996; Smith, Sydney Goodsir, 1915-1975; Morgan, Edwin, 1920-

Publication date31/12/2007
PublisherOxford University Press
Publisher URL
Place of publicationOxford

People (1)


Professor Rory Watson

Professor Rory Watson

Emeritus Professor, English Studies