By Gavin Miller
Alasdair Gray’s writing, and particularly his nice novel Lanark: A lifestyles in 4 Books (1981), is frequently learn as a paradigm of postmodern perform. This research demanding situations that view by means of proposing an research that's straight away extra traditional and extra strongly radical. by way of interpreting grey in his cultural and highbrow context, and by means of putting him in the culture of a Scottish historical past of rules that has been principally overlooked in modern severe writing, Gavin Miller re-opens touch among this hugely individualistic artist and people Scottish and ecu philosophers and psychologists who assisted in 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) might be visible as formative impacts on Gray’s anti-essentialist imaginative and prescient of Scotland as a mosaic of groups, and of our social want for popularity, acknowledgement and the typical lifestyles. Contents: Acknowledgements advent bankruptcy One: Lanark, The White Goddess, and “spiritual communion” bankruptcy : The divided self – Alasdair grey and R.D. Laing bankruptcy 3: interpreting 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)
Kennedy’s story “Original Bliss” (1997). There we ﬁnd a protagonist, Helen Brindle, disturbed by the loss of companionship previously derived from her religious upbringing: she remembered when loneliness had been only an easily remedied misunderstanding of nature, because there had always been Something Else there […] God. […]. He’d been her best kind of love. He’d willingly been a companion, a parent, a friend. (Kennedy 1998: 162) Helen’s story, though, is one of gradual desublimation of this need for companionship.
He is mine. I can hold him. ” And she felt like a dabbler in black magic, the illicit arts. (Shepherd 1996: 106) This “illicit art” allows a kind of spiritualised incorporation, instead of the more corporeal way that Martha would prefer to have Luke “in” her. Martha, to her credit, does not succumb to Luke’s propensity to ignore their potential sexual attraction. She eventually moves on, and 52 Alasdair Gray learns the value – as Craig has shown – of more earthly relations to her community. In the ﬁnal sentences of The Quarry Wood, a meal of communion marks Martha’s return to her kin: The kitched was ﬁlled with their clatter, till Emmeline cried, “haud the lang tongues o’ ye or I see if ma kettle’s bilin’,” and made the tea.
The connection with literary modernism I have already examined. Are there, though, other intertextual parallels, perhaps of a more local kind? Spiritual communion in Scottish literature There may seem little in the foregoing reading that is a matter of a distinctively Scottish literary context – unless we count the connection between Frazer and Graves as an instance of “Scottishness”. However, there is a vital context of literature which precedes and follows Gray, and which shows substantial analogies with his work.