On the Other Side of Sorrow: Moving Forward from the Clearances
Author and historian James Hunter reflects on the background to some key themes in the work of Will Maclean; the Highland Clearances; the continuing struggle for land rights and land reform; the revitalisation a long denigrated culture. James Hunter is Emeritus Professor of History at the University of the Highlands and Islands. He has written extensively about the Highlands and Islands and about the area’s worldwide diaspora. He has also been much involved in the region’s public life.
The talk’s title, ‘On the other side of sorrow’ is from the concluding line of one of Sorley MacLean’s poems, ‘An Cuilithion, The Cuillin’ – selected in part because Will has spoken often of the influence of Sorley’s thinking on his own. Professor Hunter be using it as symbolic of the way that, even after the horrors of clearance and the like, Highland people were able to fight back – this fight back in many ways continuing still in relation to community land ownership, traditional music, language, etc.