Charms of the Gaels: Hymns and Incantations

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Alexander Carmichael
Floris Books, 1992 - Charms - 684 pages
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"Carmina Gadelica" is the most complete anthology of Celtic oral tradition ever assembled. During his travels, Alexander Carmichael spent hours with peasants in their huts in front of peat fires listening as they "intoned in a low, recitative manner" these poems and prayers. This unique collection of living spirituality drawn from the depths of Celtic Christianity, represents a hidden oral tradition of great power and beauty, handed down through countless generations of Hebridean peasants.
Previously available only as a bilingual text in six volumes, this edition in English contributes to a broader awareness of Celtic literature in general. John MacInnes' introduction puts the poems in the context of the life and folklore of the Gaelic community.

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Review: Carmina Gadelica: Hymns and Incantations from the Gaelic

User Review  - Michael Murray - Goodreads

Treasure-trove of Scots Gaelic; a bottomless well of delight. This feels so much like my real world. See my in-depth discussion of 'Seathan, Son of the King of Ireland', in Parameter Magazine. Read full review

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About the author (1992)

Alexander Carmichael (1832 1912) was born in Lismore, off the coast of Argyll, and was educated at Greenock Academy and in Edinburgh. As a civil servant with the Customs and Excise ministry, his work took him to Skye, Uist, and Oban, where Gaelic still dominated during the mid-nineteenth century. He collaborated with the folklorist John Francis Campbell (1822 1885) in his folklore collection and made his own large collection between 1855 and 1899, in particular from 1865 until 1882, while the family lived in the Hebrides. His collection consists mainly of Gaelic prayers and invocations, hymns, blessings, charms, as well as numerous songs. The material was collected from both mainland and island sources and range in time over several centuries. Carmichael eventually settled in Edinburgh. His best-known publications include "Grazing and Agrestic Customs of the Outer Hebrides" (1884) which had been requested for the report of the Crofter Royal Commission and "Carmina Gadelica" (1900).

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