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Title: The New Scottish Renaissance?
Authors: Hames, Scott
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Editors: Boxall, P
Cheyette, B
Citation: Hames S (2016) The New Scottish Renaissance?. In: Boxall P, Cheyette B (ed.). The Oxford History of the Novel in English: Volume 7, British and Irish Fiction Since 1940 . Oxford History of the Novel in English, 7, Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Keywords: Scottish literature
cultural nationalism
literary renaissance
Issue Date: Feb-2016
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Series/Report no.: Oxford History of the Novel in English, 7
Abstract: This chapter examines the genuine boom in Scottish literary fiction during the 1980s and -90s, and the rhetoric of its presentation as a ‘new renaissance’.  With this label came remarkably strong claims for the political efficacy of the contemporary literary novel, a phenomenon that has not attracted the interest it deserves from literary historians outside Scotland. In the two decades prior to devolution, the emergence of formally ambitious Scottish novelists including Alasdair Gray, James Kelman, Iain Banks, A.L. Kennedy, Irvine Welsh, Janice Galloway, Andrew O’Hagan and Alan Warner sponsored a conflation of fiction and democracy which figured the novel as the locus of national self-representation and re-invention – as Scotland’s ‘real’ parliament prior to, and in some sense leading to, the establishment of Holyrood in 1999.  While there is clear evidence of these writers’ influence on the self-image of post-devolution Scotland, a closer examination of their fiction and its staging of ‘Scottishness’ complicates any straightforward affiliation with cultural nationalism. The ‘new renaissance’ discourse, I suggest, both inflates the social impact of these novelists and delimits the politics of their writing to the display of suppressed ‘identity’.
Rights: This item has been embargoed for a period. During the embargo please use the Request a Copy feature at the foot of the Repository record to request a copy directly from the author. You can only request a copy if you wish to use this work for your own research or private study. Publisher policy allows this work to be made available in this repository. Published in The Oxford History of the Novel in English, Volume 7: British and Irish Fiction Since 1940 by Oxford University Press. The original publication is available at:
Type: Part of book or chapter of book
Affiliation: English Studies

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