Writing His Way through Grief in Scottish Gaelic: Christopher Whyte’s Elegy to Maria-Mercè Marçal


  • Montserrat Lunati


Maria-Mercè Marçal, Christopher Whyte, Mourning, Friendship, Jacques Derrida, Illness, Body


In 1998, Catalan poet Maria-Mercè Marçal died of cancer, aged 45. Scottish writer Christopher Whyte had lived in Barcelona for the best part of two years and they had become close friends. After her death, he wrote a long mourning poem in Scottish Gaelic, the language he favours for his poetry. This essay, which is indebted to Jacques Derrida’s views on death, mourning and friendship, will focus on Whyte’s elegiac poem, entitled Leabhar Nach Deach A Sgrìobhadh: In memoriam Maria-Mercè Marçal, 11.XI.1952-5.VII.1998/Un llibre no escrit: In memoriam Maria-Mercè Marçal, in order to analize it in the context of the multilingual dialogue that Christopher Whyte, or Crìsdean MacIlleBhàin, as he signs his poetry in Scottish Gaelic, establishes with her dead poet friend.