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Popular Tales of the West Highlands

A Sea Spell, by Dante Gabriel Rossetti [1877] (Public Domain Image)

 Popular Tales of the West Highlands, Vol. I
by J. F. Campbell [1890]
 Popular Tales of the West Highlands, Vol. II
by J. F. Campbell [1890]
 Popular Tales of the West Highlands, Vol. III
by J. F. Campbell [1890]
 Popular Tales of the West Highlands, Vol. IV
by J. F. Campbell [1890]

This is J. F. Campbell’s four-volume collection of Scottish folklore. Campbell, who was fluent in Gaelic, spent years in the field eliciting these stories from people in all walks of life. This was a salvage project, as the stories and the storytellers were rapidly dying out under the impact of the dominant British culture and the inroads of the industrial revolution. It is because of Campbell’s pioneering effort that we have a comprehensive record of this rich vein of folklore.

This is a critical edition, which contains an extensive introduction, variations on each tale, and endnotes. Campbell is often cited in folklore studies, and many other anthologies of Scottish and general folklore include one or more stories from this collection.

The original book also includes the Gaelic text for most of the stories. Some of the more extensive Gaelic texts had to be omitted from this electronic version, although all the English translations are included. This is indicated by ellipsis marks in green. Most short and medium length Gaelic texts are included, including all of the Gaelic poetic texts.

Although this book is not currently in print, it was reprinted in paperback by Wildwood Press in 1983, and it is easy to obtain inexpensive used copies.