The Classic Ground of our Celtic Homer: Alexander Campbell’s Song-Collecting Tour

Engagement activity: External performance, talk or presentationTalk for a mainly academic audience (e.g. at an academic conference)

Karen McAulay (Speaker), 16 Mar 2021

One of three guest talks at event supporting exhibition at Hunterian Museum: Old Ways, New Roads.  [Talk recorded for the event, questions afterwards - not a publication.]In 1792, the antiquarian Joseph Ritson urged Alexander Campbell to fulfil his dream of going on a Scottish song-collecting tour, saying that it would be ‘The pleasures of imagination’ realised.  Ritson was alluding to a poem by the earlier poet Mark Akenside, but Campbell’s motivation was in fact driven by his longing to find songs from the region that James Macpherson had trawled for his famed Ossian publications. It was 1815 before Campbell made his tour of what he called ‘the classic ground of our Celtic Homer’ – the Highlands and Western Isles.  Today, I shall share some of his adventures, all documented in his own contemporary travel journal.

External organisation (University)

NameUniversity of Glasgow Hunterian Museum
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom