IOSAIGH

no dates given

IOSAIGH



Boswell confesses that one of the delights of the Tour is that he has Johnson to himself, as a large piece of meat, which he, clever dog that he is, has carried off to the isles, away from all their London friends, and which he may now “devour in peace”. Playfully piloting the lives they will never lead, far from wives and responsibilities, they are earning their island names. This shucking off of identity that happens on northern jaunts is a recurring figure. Just as climbers have tales that nestle in particular inns, so the imagination of poetic selves has a love of islands, Berneray, Rousay, and, in a remarkable way, the lonely rock of Isay, or Iosaigh, which Macleod offered to Johnson as a gift.

[AF to revise / develop:]

For MacLeod’s Iosaigh read Johnson’s Isay. For Johnson’s Isay read Donovan’s Isay. ADD


A PASSING RESEMBLANCE,
AN IMITATION, A PIPE-DREAM,
AN IRRITATION, A DECLINE, A FALL

donovan




Scalpay, the crossing to Raasay, Isay, and also Coll as island states of mind

islands as places of translation – in our passage to them we place the walking stick of habit into the current, and lose it; one of our main themes is translation, but with them, and us, it is a brief immersion, and there is always the danger of Donovisation. As SJ would say of Ossian, antique Scotland being so lost from view, let us not allow the pale imitation of Ossian to fill the void.

Bibliography
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