First published in 1973 by the Hogarth Press, Magnus is George Mackay Brown’s tour de force.
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First published in 1973 by the Hogarth Press, Magnus is George Mackay Brown’s tour de force – his most poetic and innovative book. He links the twelfth-century story of the saintly Earl Magnus of Orkney’s brutal murder at the hands of his cousin Hakon Paulson, to that of the philosopher Dietrich Bonhoeffer, murdered by the Nazis during World War II.
This is a unique exploration of the eternal questions of guilt, goodness and personal sacrifice.
George Mackay Brown (1921–96) was one of the twentieth century’s most distinguished and original writers. His lifelong inspiration and birthplace, Stromness in Orkney, moulded his view of the world, though he studied in Edinburgh and later at Newbattle Abbey College. In 1941 he was diagnosed with pulmonary tuberculosis and lived an increasingly reclusive life in Stromness, but he produced a regular stream of publications from 1954 onwards. These included A Calendar of Love (1967), A Time to Keep (1969), Greenvoe (1972), Hawkfall (1974), and, notably, the novel Beside the Ocean of Time (1994), which was shortlisted for the Booker Prize and won the Saltire Book of the Year.