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Title: ‘Maybe singing into yourself’: James Kelman, Inner Speech and Vocal Communion
Author(s): Hames, Scott
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Editor(s): Lyall, S
Citation: Hames S (2016) ‘Maybe singing into yourself’: James Kelman, Inner Speech and Vocal Communion. In: Lyall S (ed.) Community in Modern Scottish Literature. Scottish Cultural Review of Language and Literature, 25. Leiden, Netherlands: Brill, pp. 196-213.
Keywords: James Kelman
inner speech
Issue Date: Apr-2016
Date Deposited: 9-Mar-2016
Series/Report no.: Scottish Cultural Review of Language and Literature, 25
Abstract: The achievement of James Kelman is often linked to the recovery of communal voice and representative power. (This is particularly the case in Scottish critical contexts.) On the contrary, the social value of Kelman’s fiction lies in its wary resistance to ‘voice’ as a medium for the display of pre-given community and identity. His art subtly repudiates the ardent singing of readymade peoplehood, which often figures as a threat to the self-emancipation of the individual. This chapter explores a range of Kelman’s recent (post-2008) novels and stories in this light, with particular attention to the central importance – and the complex sociality – of un-expressed ‘inner speech’. Detailed close readings trace the unraveling of vocal solidarities premised on a bad or empty withness, and – from another angle – the pulling inward, and partial redemption, of the lyric subject’s fretful relation to external groupness and the illusion of consensus. Key insights of V.N. Volosinov (‘inner speech’), Benedict Anderson (‘unisonance’) and Étienne Balibar (on individual/collective emancipation) help to frame these explorations, which offer a new approach to Kelman’s politics of voice.
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 Community in Modern Scottish Literature (2016) by Brill. The original publication is available at:

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