Today's No Ground to Stand Upon
: A Study of the Life and Poetry of George Campbell Hay

  • Anne Artymiuk

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy (awarded by OU/Aberdeen)


This work is a study of the life and poetry of the Scottish poet George Campbell Hay, with particular reference to those places where biography, psychology and poetry intersect.
It examines and questions some of the biographical ‘facts’ of Hay’s life as he gave them: his acquisition of Gaelic and the cause of his initial mental breakdown in Greece in 1946. It discusses the reasons that may have lain behind his eventual agreement to be conscripted into the British Army after a long period of refusal, and considers how this affected him as a man and as a poet. Post-war, Hay was diagnosed with schizophrenia and as a result spent many years in a mental asylum; this study challenges the diagnosis of schizophrenia and suggests that what Hay actually suffered from was bipolar II disorder. It examines the ways in which the disease may have affected both his methods of working and the form and content of his poetry. On a slightly wider scale it also explores the ways in which Hay’s poetry reflected his lived experience, as well as the ways in which he used his work to create and present a personal vision of Scotland.
Date of Award29 Aug 2019
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Edinburgh
SupervisorDonna Heddle (Supervisor), Alan Riach (Supervisor) & Timothy Baker (Supervisor)

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