Bhí sé ar dhuine den bheagán sin scoláirí a scríobh leabhair i dtaobh litríocht gach teanga Cheilteach. Tá cuntais air in: Who’s Who 1986; Éigse XXV, 1991 ag Brian Ó Cuív; Études Celtiques XXX, 1994 ag Ann T.E. Matonis; Béaloideas 66, 1998 (‘A Mother’s love and Respect’) ag Bo Almqvist. Déanann Matonis an cur síos seo air: ‘I think that it is safe to say that among scholarly disciplines Celtic Studies has been the home of a remarkably high percentage of extraordinary scholars. Even within this society, Kenneth Jackson was a giant among giants. He was a scholar whose learning was both deep and wide.’ Ag tagairt do Robin Flower deir Muiris Mac Conghail: ‘He established, with some other Englishmen, such as George Thomson, the Greek and Homeric scholar, and Kenneth Hurlstone Jackson, the Celtic scholar, a climate for the island [an Blascaod] community in which it would be possible for the Islanders to write about their lives and the Island in their own language’ (The Blaskets: a Kerry island library, 1987).

Ag ‘Melville’, Lavender Vale, Beddington, Surrey (i gceantar cláraitheora Croydon), a rugadh é 1 Samhain 1909. Ba iad Alan Stuart Jackson, ar chléireach stocmhalartáin é dar leis an teastas beireatais, agus Lucy Jane Hurlstone a thuismitheoirí. Chuaigh sé go Scoil Whitgift, Croydon, um Meán Fómhair 1919. I 1928 chuaigh sé go Coláiste Eoin, Cambridge, mar a ndearna sé staidéar ar na clasaicigh; fuair sé boinn agus gradaim eile de bharr a fheabhas a scríobh sé véarsaíocht Laidine agus Gréigise. Fuair sé céad onóracha sna Clasacaigh i 1931, agus sa tSeandálaíocht agus san Antraipeolaíocht i 1932. Chuir scoláireacht ar a chumas staidéar a dhéanamh faoi Osborn Bergin i mBaile Átha Cliath agus in Bangor faoi Ifor Williams. Bhí sé ina léachtóir le Ceiltis in Cambridge 1934-39, ina ollamh le Teangacha agus Litríochtaí na gCeilteach in Harvard 1939-49 agus ina ollamh le Teangacha, Litríochtaí agus Seaniarsmaí na gCeilteach i nDún Éideann 1950-79. Bhí sé ina eagarthóir ar Journal of Celtic Studies (Baltimore) 1949-57. Deirtear in Who’s Who: ‘War service in the British Imperial Censorship, Bermuda (Uncommon Languages), 1942-44; in the US censorship 1944.’

Flower a bhrostaigh é chun dul go dtí an Blascaod i 1932. Bhailigh sé scéalta ó Pheig Sayers agus foilsíodh iad in Béaloideas IV agus VIII agus ansin in Scéalta ón mBlascaod, 1939. Déanann Bo Almqvist cur síos ar an meas a bhí acu ar a chéile agus tá i gcló aige trí litir a sheol Peig chuig Jackson i 1933-34. ‘I bhfad ina dhiaidh sin, agus cáil chomh mór ar Jackson mar scoláire Ceiltise is a bhí ar Pheig mar scéalaí, lean an mórmheas ag Jackson uirthi. Is di a thoirbhir sé an staidéar tábhachtach dá chuid, The International Tale and Early Welsh Tradition, a foilsíodh i 1961; agus ba mhinic é ag rá go príobháideach is go poiblí gur uirthi sin a bhí a bhuíochas, ní hamháin as méar ar eolas a thabhairt dó ar an nGaeilge, ach as a shuim sa bhéalinsint a mhúscailt agus tuiscint a thabhairt dó ar a bhfuil de bhuanna aestéitiúla ag baint lena cleachtadh.’ Deir Peig i litir de 5 Eanáir 1933: ‘I regard you more than any of those Irish gamesters, because you were kind gentle & true, since the first few days we were acquainted. I knew you were a gentleman every inch of you. So I took great interest in you & I had a mother’s love & respect for you. So I hope God will Bless you & and make you a man of great fame. I’d be glad to hear your Name is famous as Blátin’s [Flower] Name.’ Luaitear deirfiúr le Jackson sna litreacha agus deir Almqvist: ‘Ba í sin Christine Hurlstone Jackson, a línigh agus a dhathaigh roinnt pictiúirí den scoth de Pheig agus de shaol an Bhlascaoid. Bronnadh na pictiúirí sin ar Roinn Bhéaloideas Éireann sa bhliain 1990. . . . Thug Christine agus a fear céile, Thomas Waddicor, cuairt ar Kenneth ar an mBlascaod. Ba ghrianghrafadóir oilte Thomas, agus le linn dó a bheith ar an Oileán ghlac sé roinnt grianghrafanna den scoth’. Deir Ó Cuív faoin tamall a chaith Jackson san oileán: ‘An gean a thug sé do mhuintir na Gaeltachta agus do bheochaint na Gaeilge an uair sin, d’fhan sé aige go deireadh a shaoil.’

Ar na leabhair is aitheanta dá dhéantús tá: Studies in Early Celtic nature poetry, 1935; a eagrán de Cath Maighe Léna, 1938; Language and history in early Britain, 1953; A celtic miscellany, 1951; The oldest Irish tradition, 1964; A historical phonology of Breton, 1967; The gododdin, 1969; The Gaelic notes in the book of deer, 1972. I 1990 d’fhoilsigh Institiúid Ard-Léinn Bhaile Átha Cliath a eagrán de Aislinge Meic Conglinne. Chuir sé tús leis an obair sin i 1955 agus bhí sé ag gabháil di tar éis dó éirí as a phost i 1979. Ach buaileadh síos le stróc é i 1984. ‘Ábharach go maith bhí ar ár gcumas san Institiúid Ard-Léinn teacht i gcabhair air, agus de bharr dian-chomhoibrithe idir Kenneth agus mé féin agus Pádraig Ó Macháin bhí sé de shásamh aige gur foilsíodh a eagrán den Aislinge an bhliain sarar cailleadh é’ (Ó Cuív). Sa réamhrá gabhann Jackson buíochas freisin le Gordon Quin agus le scoláirí eile, agus is do Bhrian Ó Cuív a thoirbhir sé an leabhar. Léiriú beag ar an dua a bhain leis an obair, agus gurb é atá ann dáiríre ná tráchtas ar an Meán-Ghaeilge, is ea nach líonann an téacs féin ach 43 as breis is 200 leathanach.

Aistritheoir ba ea é. Sa réamhrá le A celtic miscellany deir sé: ‘The purpose of this book is to provide in the first place new translations, my own work, not to repeat those of others; and up-to-date ones, in accordance with the progress of modern Celtic scholarship. Then, to give selections not only from poetry but also from prose: mostly short, occasionally longer passages, chosen to illustrate the prose literature of the Celtic peoples; for a verse anthology is necessarily only one-sided. And third, to include material from all six Celtic literatures and from all periods from the beginning to the nineteenth century.’ Is gnách gur mar phrós atá na haistriúcháin ar dhánta aige ach deir sé: ‘There are a few exceptions to this, the chief being ... the two selections from Merriman’s Midnight Court and Nos. 58 and 186. With the pieces from Merriman the tremendous swing of the Irish verse absolutely imposed a rhythmical swing, amounting to metre, on the English; and to avoid giving an impression similar to “prose-poems” or poetry printed as prose, these two passages are given with the verse lines of the original as separate lines of print.’

I measc na n-onóracha a tugadh dó tá DLittCelt agus CBE. Bhí sé ina uachtarán ar an Scottish Anthropological and Folklore Society, an English Place-Name Society, agus an International Congress of Celtic Studies. Bhí sé pósta ar Janet Dall Galloway agus bhí mac agus iníon acu. D’éag sé ar 20 Feabhra 1991. Tá an méid seo ag Matison ina thaobh: ‘His public presence was reserved, some might say aloof. The truth is that he was a gentleman, and so he always behaved. But beneath his donnish exterior, this eminent scholar was lively, wistful, warm, profound, chatty, gregarious, gentle, caustic, widely curious, introspective. He was a scholar with immense outside interests, which often surfaced unexpectedly in the course of a classroom discussion, most notably in discussions of Celtic nature poetry where his knowledge of British flora and fauna could bring into sharp focus small but evocative details of description. He was in addition a lifelong enthusiast of America, and especiallyNew England; a reader of mystery stories; an experienced hill-walker; and to many of us, a much beloved teacher and friend.’

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Diarmuid Breathnach

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