Derick Thomson

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For those of a similar name, see Derek Thompson (disambiguation).

Professor Derick S. Thomson MA, BA, Dlitt, FRSE, FBA (5 August 1921 – 21 March 2012), known as Ruaraidh MacThòmais in his native Scottish Gaelic, was a Scottish poet, publisher, lexicographer, academic and writer. He was originally from Lewis, but spent much of his life in Glasgow, where he was Professor of Celtic at the University of Glasgow from 1963 to 1991. He is best known for setting up the publishing house, Gairm, along with its magazine, which was the longest-running periodical ever entirely in Scottish Gaelic, running for over fifty years under his editorship. Gairm has since ceased, and has been replaced by Gath. He was an Honorary President of the Scottish Poetry Library, and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh and the British Academy. In June 2007, he received an honorary degree from the University of Glasgow.

Life[edit]

Thomson is originally from Upper Bayble (Pabail Uarach), in Lewis, the same place that produced two other Gaelic writers of note: Iain Crichton Smith and Anne Frater.

Educated at the Nicolson Institute in Stornoway, he went onto the Universities of Aberdeen; Cambridge and Bangor University. He would later teach at Edinburgh, Glasgow and Aberdeen. He became Professor of Celtic at Glasgow in 1963, and retired in 1991. He was Chairman of the Gaelic Books Council 1968-91; President Scottish Gaelic Texts Society; former member of Scottish Arts Council and was the first recipient of the Ossian Prize in 1974. Professor Thomson was Chairman of the SNP's Gaelic Committee in the Seventies.

He is the author of numerous books including An Introduction to Gaelic Poetry, The Companion to Gaelic Poetry, European Poetry in Gaelic, and collections of Gaelic poetry, including his collected poems Creachadh na Clàrsaich (Plundering of the Harp/clarsach) which shared the Scottish Book of the Year Award in 1983. He also edited The Companion to Gaelic Scotland. His English-Gaelic dictionary came out in 1981, and was for many years the most practical reference of its kind. He has published seven collections of Gaelic poetry, with many English translations, including Meall Garbh/The Rugged Mountain (1995), Smeur an Dochais etc.

His publications are many and varied, and include such seminal works as The Gaelic Sources of Macpherson's Ossian, An Introduction to Gaelic Poetry, The Companion to Gaelic Scotland (edited by him) and Gaelic Poetry in the Eighteenth Century; his contributions to Welsh studies are also noteworthy. No less important has been Professor Thomson's work for the promotion of Scottish Gaelic literature, not only, to take one example, as founder, editor and publisher of the quarterly Gairm since 1953. He was elected Fellow of the Academy in 1992 and gave last year's Rhys Lecture on Scottish Gaelic Traditional Songs from the Sixteenth to the Eighteenth Century.

Derick Thomson died in 2012, at the age of 90.[1]

Plagiarism[edit]

In August 1997 The Times reported that poems by Cornishman Alan Kent had been copied from Derick Thomson. Kent had apparently copied a number of poems and just changed the names of places and people, locating them in Cornwall, instead of Scotland.[2]

Positions held[edit]

Publications[edit]

Poetry (own work):

Poetry (anthologies):

Various:

Co-author:

References[edit]

  1. ^ Published on Tuesday 3 April 2012 00:00. "Obituary: Professor Derick Thomson; writer and scholar who was the most important voice in Gaelic poetry in the 20th century - News". Scotsman.com. Retrieved 2012-04-03. 
  2. ^ http://ampersandcom.com/ GeorgeLeposky/plagiarism.txt

External links[edit]