500 Years of Reformation

Prof. Alasdair MacDonald

Scottish Literature and Cultural Change -
The Case of the Gude and Godlie Ballatis



Lutheran theology impacted on Scottish society in the four decades before 1560. This new influence was also a novelty in cultural terms, since previously the main contacts of Scotland had been with France. However, the ‘Lutheran moment’ in the Scottish Reformation was later overshadowed by the stronger influence of Calvinism. The Gude and Godlie Ballatis (1565), which began as a collection of verse translations and Lutheran‐inspired religious lyrics, was subjected to Calvinist censorship. Nonetheless, and despite its complicated textual history, the GGB still today counts as a landmark work in Scottish culture.


Alasdair MacDonald studied at Edinburgh University. The title of his doctoral dissertation (1978) was ‘The Middle Scots Religious Lyrics’. He has taught in Departments of English at the Universities of Leeds, Ghana, Nijmegen and Groningen. Since 2011 he is Emeritus Professor at Groningen, and since 2009 Honorary Senior Research Fellow of the University of Glasgow. He was the first Academic Director of the Netherlands National Research School for Medieval Studies, and established co-operation agreements with groups of researchers in Europe and in the USA. He edited the Gude and Godlie Ballatis for the Scottish Text Society in 2015, has (co-)edited twenty collections of scholarly contributions, and is the author of over 150 articles on the medieval and early modern literatures of England and Scotland. Forthcoming in 2018 is his study and edition of the poems of George Lauder (17th century).


» Tuesday, 7 November 2017, 9:30 - 11:00

» Jakob-Welder-Weg 18 (Philosophicum I), Fakultätssaal FB 05