Sydney Goodsir Smith's sequence of twenty-four elegies on themes of loss, love and creativity, widely regarded to be Smith's masterwork, has nevertheless divided critical opinion since its first publication in 1948. One of the most recent calls for fresh critical attention was made in 2005 by Christopher Whyte, who wrote that 'Smith's work merits and demands (and still awaits) thoroughgoing and meticulous annotation and assessment'. This current re-reading of Under the Eildon Tree approaches the text from three connected angles: the Bakhtinian carnivalesque and debauchery that runs through the sequence; the idiolect employed by Smith; and the poem's vital engagement with intertexts leading to an assessment of the rhetorical nature of love poetry and elegy.


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