“Whichever way I look I see a clouded horizon”: Compton Mackenzie

Kathryn A. Burnett*, Ray Burnett

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to conferencePresentationpeer-review


“Whichever way I look I see a clouded horizon” wrote Mackenzie once of his uneasy relationship with the island of Herm, in the English Channel. D.H. Lawrence’s tale (pub.1928) of the “the man who loved islands” is reputed to be greatly informed by the complex affections and affectations of – amongst many descriptors - writer, broadcaster, activist, and resolute islophile Compton Mackenzie. The “topos of the island explores and creates bridges between the real and the imaginary” state Stephanides and Bassett (2008) but crucially also between “genres and disciplines”. This paper deploys a retrospective lens through the post-war iconography of WhiskyGalore (1949 Dir., Mackendrick; Screenplay, Mackenzie), offering a pivoting multi-disciplinary perspective of Mackenzie’s time in the Hebrides, as well as his “island time” spent elsewhere. With reference to Mackenzie’s own memoirs - not least of his time among the “aristocrats of democracy” – and his considerable published works, as well as media accounts and broadcast archive, off-shore socio-political questions will be asked of onshore cultural policy, and of continuing dialogues of ‘remoteness’, ‘islandness’, independence and nationhood today.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 9 Jan 2019
EventMeCCSA Annual Conference 2019: Continuity and Change – Media, Communications and Politics - University of Stirling, Stirling, United Kingdom
Duration: 9 Jan 201911 Jan 2019


ConferenceMeCCSA Annual Conference 2019
Abbreviated titleMeCCSA 2019
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
Internet address


  • Scottish Literature
  • island studies
  • identity
  • Hebrides
  • community
  • Compton Mackenzie
  • islandness
  • representation
  • nationalism


Dive into the research topics of '“Whichever way I look I see a clouded horizon”: Compton Mackenzie'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this