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TITLE
'Essays on the Superstitions of the Highlanders of Scotland'
EXTERNAL ID
AB_LL_ANNE_GRANT_02
PLACENAME
Laggan
DISTRICT
Badenoch
OLD COUNTY/PARISH
INVERNESS: Laggan
DATE OF RECORDING
2008
PERIOD
2000s
CREATOR
Anne Grant
SOURCE
Am Baile
ASSET ID
1260
KEYWORDS
literature
essay
audio
literary landscapes

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This audio extract is from volume one of Anne Grant of Laggan's two-volume work, 'Essays of the Superstitions of the Highlanders of Scotland', published in 1811. It is read here by Sue Skelton.

'No two nations ever were more distinct, or differed more completely from each other, than the highlanders and lowlanders; and the sentiments with which they regarded each other, was at best a kind of smothered animosity.

The lowlander considered the highlander as a fierce and savage depredator, speaking a barbarous language, and inhabiting a gloomy and barren region, which fear and prudence forbid all strangers to explore. The attractions of his social habits, strong attachments, and courteous manners, were confined to his glens and to his kindred. All the pathetic and sublime charms of his poetry, and all the wild wonders of his records, were concealed in a language difficult to acquire, and utterly despised as the jargon of barbarians by their southern neighbours. If such were the light in which the cultivators of the soil regarded the hunters, graziers, and warriors of the mountains, their contempt was amply repaid by their high spirited neighbours.

They again regarded the lowlanders as a very inferior mongrel race of intruders; sons of little men, without heroism, ancestry, or genius. Mechanical drudges, who could neither sleep without on the snow, compose extempore songs, recite long tales of wonder or of woe, or live without bread and without shelter, for weeks together, following the chase. Whatever was mean or effeminate, whatever was dull, slow, mechanical, or torpid, was in the highlands imputed to the lowlanders, and exemplified by some allusion to them: while, in the low country, every thing ferocious or unprincipled - every species of aukwardness or ignorance - of pride or of insolence, was imputed to the highlanders.

No two communities, generally speaking, could hate each other more cordially, or despise each other more heartily.'

Mrs. Anne Grant of Laggan was born Anne MacVicar in Glasgow in 1755. She was the daughter of Duncan MacVicar, an army officer. The family spent some time in North America before returning to Scotland to Fort Augustus in 1773. It was here that Anne met James Grant, military chaplain to the regiment garrisoned there. They married in 1779 when James was given the charge of the neighbouring parish of Laggan.

When her husband died in 1801, Anne turned to writing to help support herself and her eight remaining children (four daughters had previously died). Among her most famous works are 'Letters from the Mountains' (1807), and 'Memoirs of an American Lady' (1808). She also published 'Essays on the Superstitions of the Highlanders' (1811), perhaps her most interesting work. Her poetry collections include 'Poems of Various Subjects' (1803) and 'The Highlanders and Other poems' (1808).

The success of Anne's publications enabled her to move to Edinburgh where, during the last thirty years of her life, she derived pleasure and company from her literary acquaintances, including Sir Walter Scott. Anne Grant died at 9 Manor Place, Edinburgh, on 7 November 1838 and was buried next to four of her daughters in St. Cuthbert's graveyard in Edinburgh.

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'Essays on the Superstitions of the Highlanders of Scotland'

INVERNESS: Laggan

2000s

literature; essay; audio; literary landscapes

Am Baile

Literary Landscapes: Anne Grant

This audio extract is from volume one of Anne Grant of Laggan's two-volume work, 'Essays of the Superstitions of the Highlanders of Scotland', published in 1811. It is read here by Sue Skelton.<br /> <br /> 'No two nations ever were more distinct, or differed more completely from each other, than the highlanders and lowlanders; and the sentiments with which they regarded each other, was at best a kind of smothered animosity.<br /> <br /> The lowlander considered the highlander as a fierce and savage depredator, speaking a barbarous language, and inhabiting a gloomy and barren region, which fear and prudence forbid all strangers to explore. The attractions of his social habits, strong attachments, and courteous manners, were confined to his glens and to his kindred. All the pathetic and sublime charms of his poetry, and all the wild wonders of his records, were concealed in a language difficult to acquire, and utterly despised as the jargon of barbarians by their southern neighbours. If such were the light in which the cultivators of the soil regarded the hunters, graziers, and warriors of the mountains, their contempt was amply repaid by their high spirited neighbours.<br /> <br /> They again regarded the lowlanders as a very inferior mongrel race of intruders; sons of little men, without heroism, ancestry, or genius. Mechanical drudges, who could neither sleep without on the snow, compose extempore songs, recite long tales of wonder or of woe, or live without bread and without shelter, for weeks together, following the chase. Whatever was mean or effeminate, whatever was dull, slow, mechanical, or torpid, was in the highlands imputed to the lowlanders, and exemplified by some allusion to them: while, in the low country, every thing ferocious or unprincipled - every species of aukwardness or ignorance - of pride or of insolence, was imputed to the highlanders.<br /> <br /> No two communities, generally speaking, could hate each other more cordially, or despise each other more heartily.'<br /> <br /> Mrs. Anne Grant of Laggan was born Anne MacVicar in Glasgow in 1755. She was the daughter of Duncan MacVicar, an army officer. The family spent some time in North America before returning to Scotland to Fort Augustus in 1773. It was here that Anne met James Grant, military chaplain to the regiment garrisoned there. They married in 1779 when James was given the charge of the neighbouring parish of Laggan.<br /> <br /> When her husband died in 1801, Anne turned to writing to help support herself and her eight remaining children (four daughters had previously died). Among her most famous works are 'Letters from the Mountains' (1807), and 'Memoirs of an American Lady' (1808). She also published 'Essays on the Superstitions of the Highlanders' (1811), perhaps her most interesting work. Her poetry collections include 'Poems of Various Subjects' (1803) and 'The Highlanders and Other poems' (1808). <br /> <br /> The success of Anne's publications enabled her to move to Edinburgh where, during the last thirty years of her life, she derived pleasure and company from her literary acquaintances, including Sir Walter Scott. Anne Grant died at 9 Manor Place, Edinburgh, on 7 November 1838 and was buried next to four of her daughters in St. Cuthbert's graveyard in Edinburgh.