Described by the Rev. William Matheson as the ‘the last of the native scholars’, Dr. John MacInnes was until recently the foremost living authority on the oral tradition of the Scottish Highlands, when he passed away in 2019.
Having spent some five decades recording the Gaelic lore of tradition-bearers from all over Scotland and Canada on behalf of the School of Scottish Studies, he wrote eloquently on an inheritance analysed with intellectual rigour.
This collection of seminal articles covers many aspects of life, history and literature in the Scottish Highlands, from clan sagas to Clearances, from the supernatural to Sorley MacLean. Although these articles are profound in their insights, they are written clearly and unpretentiously, and are accessible to the non-specialist. Born in Uig, Lewis, in 1930, John MacInnes spent most of his childhood on Skye and Raasay. There he acquired a keen interest in the traditional songs, folktales and culture of the Scottish Highlands, which led him towards formal study and the awards of degrees and distinctions at Edinburgh University. He was appointed to the School of Scottish Studies in 1958, and continued there until his retirement in 1993. He died in 2019 at the age of eighty-nine.