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Appears in Collections:eTheses from Faculty of Arts and Humanities legacy departments
Title: Hugh Macdiarmid and the politics of consciousness : a study of nationalism, psychology and materialism in the work and thought of Hugh Macdiarmid
Author(s): Ross, Raymond J.
Issue Date: 1984
Publisher: University of Stirling
Abstract: This thesis concerns itself with the conjunction of literature and politics in the work and thought of Hugh MacDiarmid and seeks to explore the nature of that conjunction: what is referred to as MacDiarmid's "political aesthetic". The thesis sets out to examine MacDiarmid's nationalism, its basis and its relevance to his writing, arguing that his theory of "National Psychology", as I term it, is central to his creative output and one important aspect of which is his imaginative embodiment of his country's "psychology" in his poetic voice: what I have called the "Representative Personality". As with his nationalism, this thesis also treats of his communism, its roots, nature and influence, and with special regard to his definition of the function of art as "the extension of consciousness" and questions the philosophical viability of his declared materialism. It argues here that, in spite of MacDiarmid's cult of the absolute and the extreme, much of the power and range of his poetry derives from his attempt to reconcile, or compromise between, philosophical idealism and dialectical materialism, and that the resultant tension deriving from his empirio-critical position is a major characteristic in his poetry. Concomitant with his empirio-criticism is the "God-building" mentality (as opposed to Solovievian "God-seeking") that he shared with many contemporaries, not least in the ranks of Lenin's Bolshevik Party. This is dealt with at some depth as is the influence of Slavophilism on his nationalism and Russo-Scottish parallelism. The thesis is, in many ways, a comparative study, and always seeks to relate important issues discussed to the relevant historical conditions and so placing MacDiarmid among British and European counterparts. It is not a blow-by-blow account of the poetry, but ranges widely through MacDiarmid's criticism as well, and attempts to define something of the intellectual and imaginative structures which gave power and ubiquity to the voice of the poet.
Type: Thesis or Dissertation
Affiliation: School of Arts and Humanities
Department of English Studies

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