It is the object of this thesis to undertake a revisionary analysis of the work of
Scottish author, historiographer and pioneering nationalist, Fionn MacColla.
Generally, MacColla has been regarded as an excessively radical figure whose
allegedly dogmatic approach has too often obscured the more promising aspects of his
work. He continues to feature in the most up-to-date accounts of twentieth-century
Scottish literature as the voice of an unpalatable extremism which, with religion at its
core, is too controversial, too sensitive and too antagonistic to be considered
constructive. This thesis argues, however, that MacColla has been typecast as a
Catholic propagandist and erroneously categorised under the assumption that his
motives were purely religious or his views extreme. It shows that such a view not only
overlooks the complexity and significance of his often esoteric, though not
impenetrable, ideas, but grossly oversimplifies and misrepresents them.
The thesis focuses, particularly, on MacColla's theoretical approach to history
while exploring the techniques which he develops in his attempt to construct a
narrative method capable of re-presenting the issues raised in his theoretical material.
Importantly, it does not attempt to situate MacColla within a specific context, other
than that of his role within the twentieth-century Scottish Renaissance Movement. It
is the aim of this thesis, rather, to identify and explore the conceptual content of
MacColla's theory and fiction as part of a need to consolidate a greater understanding
of a writer who, at best, has only been dealt with fleetingly within the Scottish critical