A new book reveals the life and times of Ruaraidh Erskine of Marr, a Scottish poet and activist who influenced some of the most radical figures of the 20th century.
Erskine of Marr: A forgotten hero of Scottish independence
Ruaraidh Erskine of Marr was born in 1879 into a wealthy and aristocratic family. He was educated at Eton and Oxford, where he developed a passion for literature and politics. He became a founder of the forerunner of the National Party of Scotland, which advocated for Scottish self-determination and independence from Britain.
Erskine of Marr was also a prolific writer, who published poems, essays, novels, and pamphlets. He wrote in both English and Scots, and championed the revival of the Scots language and culture. He was influenced by the Irish literary renaissance and the Celtic revival, and befriended many Irish writers and nationalists.
Erskine of Marr: A friend of John Maclean and Lenin
Erskine of Marr was not only a nationalist, but also a socialist and a republican. He supported the Russian Revolution of 1917, and became friends with John Maclean, the Scottish communist leader who was appointed by Lenin as the Soviet consul in Glasgow. Erskine of Marr visited Maclean at his home in Pollokshaws, Glasgow, in 1920, and persuaded him to endorse Scottish independence and republicanism.
Erskine of Marr also corresponded with Lenin, who praised his writings and invited him to visit Moscow. Erskine of Marr declined the invitation, but sent Lenin a copy of his book The Way Forward for Scotland, which argued for a socialist republic in Scotland. Lenin wrote back to Erskine of Marr, saying that he agreed with his views and hoped that Scotland would soon be free.
Erskine of Marr: A visionary of Scotland’s future
Erskine of Marr died in 1960, after a long and eventful life. He witnessed two world wars, the rise and fall of empires, and the emergence of new nations. He also saw the growth of the Scottish independence movement, which he helped to shape and inspire.
Erskine of Marr’s legacy is celebrated in a new book by Gerard Cairns, titled No Language! No Nation! The Life and Times of the Honourable Ruaraidh Erskine of Marr. The book is published by Rymour Books, a small press that specializes in Scottish poetry and literature. Cairns argues that Erskine of Marr was one of the most important figures in Scotland’s history, who deserves more recognition and appreciation.
The book also explores Erskine of Marr’s connections with other prominent Scottish writers and thinkers, such as Hugh MacDiarmid, Hamish Henderson, Edwin Morgan, and Ian Spring. Cairns shows how Erskine of Marr influenced their works and visions, and how they continued his mission to create a new Scotland.
Erskine of Marr: A challenge to the status quo
Erskine of Marr was a man who defied conventions and expectations. He was an aristocrat who became a rebel, a poet who became a politician, a Scot who became an internationalist. He was a man who spoke truth to power, who challenged the establishment, who dreamed of a better world.
Erskine of Marr’s life and work are relevant today more than ever, as Scotland faces another crucial moment in its history. The question of independence is once again on the agenda, as well as the question of what kind of society Scotland wants to be.
Erskine of Marr’s voice is one that should be heard and heeded by all Scots who care about their country’s future. He offers a vision that is bold, radical, and inspiring. He offers a vision that is no language! no nation!