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Or Books Printed in the Gaelic of Scotland from the year 1567 to the year 1914 with Bibliograsphical and Biographical notes by The Rev. Donald MacLean (1915)


About the middle of last century the need for a Bibliography of Gaelic Literature was much felt by scholars and others interested in that language. Since John Reid published his Bibliotheca Scoto-Celtica in Glasgow in 1832, a great many new books appeared in Gaelic from the printing-presses of Edinburgh, Glasgow, and other places, but hitherto there has been no work of reference available to guide the student in his selection of suitable books. Reid's work dealt with Gaelic Literature under several different subjects, and although it possessed considerable merit, so backward was the state of education over the Highlands and Islands of Scotland at the time of its appearance and for many years afterwards that the book was hardly known even to those who had a fair knowledge of the Gaelic language.

About sixteen years ago I resolved to compile a Bibliography of Books printed in the Gaelic of Scotland from their Incunabula to the present year. I was aware of the magnitude and difficulty of the task, but many friendly letters from literary Celts who appreciated the value of my work helped in no small degree to encourage me to persevere in my effort.

The late Professor Donald Mackinnon placed at my disposal very valuable bibliographic material which he had collected for many years before he became the first occupant of the Celtic Chair in Edinburgh. It is not possible for me to acknowledge fully my indebtedness to this collection.

The reader will see that I have confined myself entirely to books printed in the Gaelic of Scotland, which I have arranged in alphabetical sequence according to the names of the authors. Only in very few instances has this order been departed from, and in each case for some reason.

I have given a verbatim et literatim transcript of the Title-Pages, adding a full collation of each work by pagination rather than by signatures. Occasionally I have given a detailed description of some books and their authors, more especially where the nature of the works invited comments or statements that would likely be appreciated by readers. In transcribing some of the Titles, I had, in a few instances, to correct manifest typographic errors that led to ambiguity or obscurity, and which, in a few instances, even amounted to mis-statements. No attempt has been made to reproduce the assortment of type used in the originals. I have included the leading religious tracts and pamphlets, as well as tractates of controversial literature, ecclesiastical and secular. Mere leaflets of no merit or originality are excluded.

It is most likely that there have been some booklets and editions of which I have not heard, but it is my belief that the reader in this work has before him practically a full Inventory of the Printed Books that appeared up to date in the Gaelic of Scotland. To ensure comprehensiveness and accuracy I have spared neither labour nor expense. I have searched the leading Libraries of Great Britain, and I have been in communication with Colonial and Continental Librarians and Booksellers. I have approached private collectors as far as I could go, and I have for many years scanned and noted the pages of booksellers' and auctioneers' catalogues.

I trust that literary Celts, Booksellers, Librarians, as well as the general public, will find in this work something of interest and value. It will, I hope, show those ignorant of Gaelic that the venerable language has a wide field of literature ; and to the scholar already cognisant of that fact it will reveal the exact extent as well as the nature and quality thereof. Gaelic literature, like the literature of most countries, has been contributed to by native Poets, Theologians, Philologists, Educationists, and Patriots, as well as by men and women from many spheres in life, to whose genius and efforts their countrymen of the present day owe, in great measure, their intellectual and material advancement alongside the other races that make up our mighty empire.

The Author desires to express his acknowledgments to the Carnegie Trust for the Universities of Scotland for their offer of financial assistance towards the expenses of the publication of this work.


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