“What Horrors Worse Than These?”: Childhood and Adolescence in Catholic Glasgow

Christopher Whyte



With reference to a particular short lyric written in Gaelic, the poet discusses his origins in the Catholic community of Glasgow in the 1950s and 1960s, using the observations of Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o to highlight how a predicament he had originally conceived of as utterly personal has much wider implications than he initially imagined, in terms of colonialism both linguistic and cultural. In his case, the mechanism of exclusion was twofold, as a Scot within the larger unit of the United Kingdom, and as the descendant of immigrants who were perceived as Irish rather than Scottish, foreigners in terms of their religion within the context of the city of Glasgow.


colonialism, exclusion, Glasgow Catholic, Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o




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