In his long scholarly career, the late John Lorne Campbell published sixteen books and a large number of research articles in the field of Celtic studies. Taking as its title the words of Edward Lhuyd (1660 – 1709), whose original work on the Highlands and Islands Campbell has done much to reinstate, A Very Civil People is the only volume of his essays and short articles. Written for the most part between 1935 and 1975, it reflects the full range of his interests and his own diverse and thorough scholarship.
Working from within the tradition, with a sound knowledge of the language, its evolution and cultural milieu, Campbell saw himself as ‘setting the record straight’ on Highland and Hebridean history. Here he writes authoritatively on the history, language and literature, oral narrative and tradition, poetry and song of the Hebrides, but his methodology, interpretations and conclusions offer lessons for the wider study of Highland, Scottish and British history.
John Lorne Campbell (1906-1996) was one of the foremost scholars of Scottish Gaelic in the twentieth century. He married the American musician and folklorist, Margaret Fay Shaw, and they settled in Canna in 1938. He gifted the island together with his library, research papers and sound archive to the National Trust for Scotland in 1981.