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Celtic Revival

  The revival of interest in Celtic literature began in the 18th century, when the Scots poet James Macpherson published poems purporting to be by a previously unknown bard, Ossian. They attracted huge attention and led to the publication of other Celtic material, both real (such as the Mabinogion and the Irish legends of Cuchulain) and imaginary (Tennyson\'s Idylls of the King). A chair of Celtic Literature was created at Oxford, the eisteddfod tradition was reinvigorated in Wales, and a scheme was projected to gather and publish all surviving Celtic stories and legends, much as the Kalevala collection in Finland had ‘rescued’ Nordic material. In 1893, W.B. Yeats published a set of folk-based stories and poems called The Celtic Twilight, and non-devotees of the movement fell on it as a name for the whole fey school.

In music, the Celtic revival involved figures as disparate as Mendelssohn (whose Fingal\'s Cave caught the mood as early as the 1830s) and Arnold Bax (an Englishman who wrote tone poems on Cornish and Irish themes), as well as such real Celts as Charles Villiers Stanford and Hamish McCunn. In the 20th century, true ethnographical and anthropological research has tended to sweep away the mists, and the whimsy has lingered on chiefly in such works as the musicals Brigadoon and Finian\'s Rainbow, and the acerbic comedies of Compton Mackenzie, especially Whisky Galore, and Eric Linklater. KMcL



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