Alasdair Gray: The Fiction of Communion (Scroll 4) (Scottish by Gavin Miller

By Gavin Miller

Alasdair Gray’s writing, and particularly his nice novel Lanark: A existence in 4 Books (1981), is usually learn as a paradigm of postmodern perform. This research demanding situations that view through providing an research that's right now extra traditional and extra strongly radical. by way of interpreting grey in his cultural and highbrow context, and via putting him in the culture of a Scottish background of principles that has been principally ignored in modern serious writing, Gavin Miller re-opens touch among this hugely individualistic artist and people Scottish and ecu philosophers and psychologists who contributed to shaping his literary imaginative and prescient of private and nationwide id. Scottish social anthropology and psychiatry (including the paintings of W. Robertson Smith, J.G. Frazer and R.D. Laing) will be obvious as formative affects on Gray’s anti-essentialist imaginative and prescient of Scotland as a mosaic of groups, and of our social desire for popularity, acknowledgement and the typical existence. Contents: Acknowledgements creation bankruptcy One: Lanark, The White Goddess, and “spiritual communion” bankruptcy : The divided self – Alasdair grey and R.D. Laing bankruptcy 3: examining and time end: How “post-” is grey? Bibliography, Index

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Extra info for Alasdair Gray: The Fiction of Communion (Scroll 4) (Scottish Cultural Review of Language and Literature)

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Weird” – Daniel Weir – is the former bassist The White Goddess 45 and songwriter from a now-defunct 1970s progressive rock band. ), and is used because of his ungainly height and appearance. The name “weird” is most appropriate, though, in its original etymological sense as “fate” and “destiny” (Concise Oxford Dictionary 1976: 1322). Weird is a latent fatalist who sees cosmic punishment lurking in the shadows. His West of Scotland Catholic culture has given him a sense of original sin, a “dreadful, constant, nagging sensation of wracked responsibility” which “could be accounted for just by being alive” (Banks 1988: 13).

H. Auden seems oddly blind to the fascist associations of renewed paganism. In his “Moon Landing” (Mendelson 1976: 632–33), the speaker sees the Apollo missions as the terminus of scientific mastery over nature: “from the moment // the first flint was flaked this landing was merely / a matter of time” . The speaker proudly declares his resistance to the disenchantment 36 Alasdair Gray of nature – “my Moon still queens the Heavens / as She ebbs and fulls, a Presence to glop at” – and suggests, contra Enlightenment, that “Irreverence / is a greater oaf than Superstition”.

Gluck himself identifies this behaviour – which he eventually overcomes – as a thwarted outbreak of the need for another person: I was busy building myself into a genius […] and there was so little space for everything necessary. […] But then again I have never been devoid of feelings – sexual impulses – I’ve always had what most people have – the desire to be with someone. I’ve often wanted love. (Kennedy 1998: 244) While Banks, Jenkins and Kennedy may be seen as owing something to Gray (the preceding novels come after Lanark), there are also Scottish authors to whom Gray is himself indebted.

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