John Francis Campbell

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John Francis Campbell (Scottish Gaelic: Iain Frangan Caimbeul; Islay, 29 December 1821 – Cannes, 17 February 1885), also known as Young John of Islay (Scottish Gaelic: Iain Òg Ìle) was a renowned Scottish author and scholar who specialised in Celtic studies. Campbell was known as an authority on Celtic folklore and of the Gaelic peoples in particular. His most well-known published works are the bilingual Popular Tales of the West Highlands (4 vols., 1860–62) and The Celtic Dragon Myth, published posthumously in 1911.

He was a descendent of Daniel Campbell of Shawfield. Educated at Eton and Edinburgh, he became Secretary to the Lighthouse Commission. Campbell also invented the sunshine recorder that bears his name as the Campbell–Stokes recorder. He travelled extensively throughout the Scottish Highlands and Islands with his scribes, scrupulously recording West Highland tales, Fenian ballads, songs, charms and anecdotes.

He was proficient in Gaelic, Danish, Norwegian, Swedish, Lapp, Italian, Spanish and German. In 1874 he embarked on a year-long world tour that took him to America, Japan, China, Java, Ceylon and India. He is buried under a replica of Islay’s treasured Kildalton Cross in a cemetery in Cannes. Campbell never married.

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