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 lifestyles in 4 Books (1981), is frequently learn as a paradigm of postmodern perform. This examine demanding situations that view by way of offering an research that's right now extra traditional and extra strongly radical. through 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 mostly 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 identification. Scottish social anthropology and psychiatry (including the paintings of W. Robertson Smith, J.G. Frazer and R.D. Laing) will be noticeable as formative impacts 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 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)

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If the self is unusual his work shocks or excites people. Anyway, it forces his personality on them” (Gray 1987: 6). In symbolic response to this ethic is Lanark’s search for the sun. Lanark’s quest, as Professor Ozenfant of the Institute notes, is opposed to worship of the moon. In typically primitivist 42 Alasdair Gray fashion, Ozenfant therefore invites Lanark to understand it as a search for a deity: you are no Athenian, no Florentine, you are a modern man. […] As for lovemaking and friendship, humanity has always preferred to enjoy these at night.

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). Music seems to Weird a way out of this sense of pending doom: the theological meaning of Weird’s career is clear – despite “my hulking, graceless body”, “I could create grace, could compose grace, even if I couldn’t be graceful myself” (Banks 1988: 212).

In order to make this move, he has left behind in East Asia his married lover Fidelia Gomez and her child, Letty. Angus is aware that this might seem rather unfeeling: Fidelia and her daughter are accordingly now at the mercy of her husband, a Filipino racketeer. Angus suspects, however, that his treatment of Fidelia is not a cruel and avoidable act of his own free will, but a necessary stage in his artistic destiny. Having been suitably inspired by their relationship, he must now produce further masterworks: “Only if he produced masterpieces could such colossal callousness be justified.

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