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Appears in Collections:Literature and Languages eTheses
Title: Critical Nationalism: Scottish Literary Culture Since 1989
Author(s): McAvoy, Meghan
Supervisor(s): Hames, Scott
Keywords: scottish literature
James Kelman
Janice Galloway
cultural nationalism
scottish studies
Issue Date: 21-Jan-2016
Publisher: University of Stirling
Abstract: This thesis is a critical study of Scottish literary culture since 1989. It examines and interrogates critical work in Scottish literary studies through a ‘critical nationalist’ approach. This approach aims to provide a refinement of cultural nationalist literary criticism by prioritising the oppositional politics of recent Scottish writing, its criticism of institutional and state processes, and its refusal to exempt Scotland from this critique. In the introduction I identify two fundamental tropes in recent Scottish literary criticism: opposition to a cultural nationalist critical narrative which is overly concerned with ‘Scottishness’ and critical centralising of marginalised identity in the establishment of a national canon. Chapter one interrogates a tendency in Scottish literary studies which reads Scottish literature in terms of parliamentary devolution, and demonstrates how a critical nationalist approach avoids the pitfalls of this reading. Chapter two is a study of two novels by the critically neglected and politically Unionist author Andrew O’Hagan, arguing that these novels criticise an insular and regressive Scotland in order to reveal an ambivalent, ‘Janus-faced’ nationalism. Chapter three examines representations of Scottish traditional and folk music in texts by A. L. Kennedy and Alan Bissett, engaging with the Scottish folk tradition since the 1950s revival in order to demonstrate literature and music’s ambivalent responses to aspects of literary and cultural nationalism. Chapter four examines texts by Janice Galloway, Alasdair Gray and James Kelman, analysing the relationships they construct between gender, nation and class. Chapter five examines three contemporary Scottish texts and elucidates an ethical turn in Scottish literary studies, which reads contemporary writing in terms of appropriation and exploitation.
Type: Thesis or Dissertation

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