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Appears in Collections:Literature and Languages eTheses
Title: Uncanny Modalities in Post-1970s Scottish Fiction: Realism, Disruption, Tradition
Author(s): Syme, Neil
Keywords: Scottish Literature
Lean Tales
Alan Warner
James Kelman
Ali Smith
James Robertson
A.L. Kennedy
Uncanny Literature
Modern Scottish Fiction
The Accidental
There but for the
Gideon Mack
The Fanatic
James Hogg
Muriel Spark
Confessions of a Justified Sinner
Robert Louis Stevenson
Jekyll and Hyde
Morvern Callar
The Sopranos
The Man Who Walks
The Deadman's Pedal
These Demented Lands
How late it was, how late
A Disaffection
A Nightboilerman's Notes
Cairns Craig
So I am glad
The Uncanny Guest
William James
The Varieties of Religious Experience
Uncanny Guest
Jonathan Culler
Scottish Realism
Scottish Renaissance
Post-1970s Scottish Fiction
Kieron Smith, boy
Jenni Fagan
Monica Germana
Francis Russel hart
Michael Billig
Banal Nationalism
Literary Imaginaion
National Imagination
Benedict Anderson
Eric Hobsbawm
Kevin MacNeil
John Burnside
Scott Hames
The Professor of Truth
Thrawn Janet
Farewell, Miss Julie Logan
Susan Bernstein
Douglas Gifford
Issue Date: 2014
Publisher: University of Stirling
Abstract: This thesis addresses critical conceptions of Scottish literary development in the twentieth-century which inscribe realism as both the authenticating tradition and necessary telos of modern Scottish writing. To this end I identify and explore a Scottish ‘counter-tradition’ of modern uncanny fiction. Drawing critical attention to techniques of modal disruption in the works of a number of post-1970s Scottish writers gives cause to reconsider that realist teleology while positing a range of other continuities and tensions across modern Scottish literary history. The thesis initially defines the critical context for the project, considering how realism has come to be regarded as a medium of national literary representation. I go on to explore techniques of modal disruption and uncanny in texts by five Scottish writers, contesting ways in which habitual recourse to the realist tradition has obscured important aspects of their work. Chapter One investigates Ali Smith’s reimagining of ‘the uncanny guest’. While this trope has been employed by earlier Scottish writers, Smith redesigns it as part of a wider interrogation of the hyperreal twenty-first-century. Chapter Two considers two texts by James Robertson, each of which, I argue, invokes uncanny techniques familiar to readers of James Hogg and Robert Louis Stevenson in a way intended specifically to suggest concepts of national continuity and literary inheritance. Chapter Three argues that James Kelman’s political stance necessitates modal disruption as a means of relating intimate individual experience. Re-envisaging Kelman as a writer of the uncanny makes his central assimilation into the teleology of Scottish realism untenable, complicating the way his work has been positioned in the Scottish canon. Chapter Four analyses A.L. Kennedy’s So I Am Glad, delineating a similarity in the processes of repetition which result in both uncanny effects and the phenomenon of tradition, leading to Kennedy’s identification of an uncanny dimension in the concept of national tradition itself. Chapter Five considers the work of Alan Warner, in which the uncanny appears as an unsettling sense of significance embedded within the banal everyday, reflecting an existentialism which reaches beyond the national. In this way, I argue that habitual recourse to an inscribed realist tradition tends to obscure the range, complexity and instability of the realist techniques employed by the writers at issue, demonstrating how national continuities can be productively accommodated within wider, pluralistic analytical approaches.
Type: Thesis or Dissertation

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