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A 'God-ordained web of creation': the faithful fictions of George Mackay Brown

Bicket, Juliet Linden (2012) A 'God-ordained web of creation': the faithful fictions of George Mackay Brown. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

Due to Embargo and/or Third Party Copyright restrictions, this thesis is not available in this service.

Abstract

This thesis represents the first extensive examination of the ‘faithful fictions’ of the Orkney writer George Mackay Brown (1921-1996). Until now, critical appreciations of the Catholic imagination informing Brown’s opus have been vague and Brown has been seen as a throwback; his Catholicism only part of a reactionary impulse that denies modernity a place in his oeuvre. Through a thematic critical analysis of four major strands of Brown’s corpus that display his Catholic imagination, it is contended that Brown has been misunderstood by the Scottish literary-critical tradition, and that his creative work on religious subjects is diverse, experimental and devotional. The thesis provides a biography of Brown’s faith. It looks at his conversion accounts, and it discusses the interaction between these and other accounts of (spiritual) autobiography. The thesis looks in a detailed way at three mediators of grace in Brown’s faithful fictions: the Virgin Mary, St Magnus, and Christ, whose nativity Brown frequently depicts. By discussing their different roles, depictions and the various literary forms that tell their stories, this study will discover the ways in which Brown encapsulates his Catholic faith in his creative work. The thesis questions whether Catholicism harms his literary output, as some critics have suggested, and shows the ways in which Brown’s writing interacts with other Catholic literature – old and new, at home and abroad. Manuscripts, including several unpublished poems, plays and stories, will be referenced throughout, as will rare and unseen correspondence. The thesis takes in the entire scope of Brown’s body of work and is not limited to a single mode or genre in his corpus. Ultimately, this study contends that Brown is an excellent case-study of the neglected Catholic writer in twentieth-century Scotland, and that there is much work to be done in appraising the Catholic imaginations of many post-Reformation Scottish Catholic writers.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Additional Information: Due to copyright restrictions the full text of this thesis cannot be made available online. Access to the printed version is available once any embargo periods have expired.
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PR English literature
Colleges/Schools: College of Arts > School of Critical Studies > Scottish Literature
Supervisor's Name: McCue, Dr. Kirsteen
Date of Award: 2012
Embargo Date: 11 January 2015
Depositing User: Ms Juliet Linden Bicket
Unique ID: glathesis:2012-3080
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 11 Jan 2012
Last Modified: 10 Dec 2012 14:03
URI: http://theses.gla.ac.uk/id/eprint/3080

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