The fiction of identity: Hugh Miller and the working man's search for voice in nineteenth-century Scottish literature

Lunan, Lyndsay (2005) The fiction of identity: Hugh Miller and the working man's search for voice in nineteenth-century Scottish literature. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Printed Thesis Information: https://eleanor.lib.gla.ac.uk/record=b2250603

Abstract

This thesis is the first critical study to examine Miller across the full range of his intellectual contribution. Existing studies of Hugh Miller have been preoccupied with Miller’s biography and with the scandal of his suicide in 1856, with many commentators viewing Miller as the quintessential ‘divided man’. This thesis, however, seeks to demonstrate that, far from producing a work of irreconcilable tensions, Miller’s work, taken as a whole, demonstrates a remarkably coherent response to the many contemporary intellectual and social issues he engages with.

Part One examines the politicised literary climate of nineteenth-century Scottish letters, and in particular the cultural phenomena of the ‘peasant poet’ made fashionable after Burns. I examine Miller’s entrance into literary circles as the self-fashioned persona of ‘the Cromarty stonemason’.

Pat Two traces Miller’s search for an authoritative vehicle of self-expression across the genres of poetry, short fiction and folklore before attaining recognition as a man of science and an influential social and religious commentator as editor of The Witness newspaper (1840 – 1856).

In Part Three two significant features of Miller’s socio-literary approach are considered. Chapter ten examines Miller’s broader socio-literary agenda, which insisted upon autobiography’s capacity to reclaim a marginalised working-class voice, and his tentative moves towards the exposition of a working-class canon. The final chapter attempts to place Miller in his proper relation to the intellectual thinking of the time and to suggest that his adherence lay toward intellectual moderation and liberality rather than the religious partisanship with which he has become associated.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN0080 Criticism
Colleges/Schools: College of Arts > School of Critical Studies > Scottish Literature
Supervisor's Name: Gifford, Professor Douglas
Date of Award: 2005
Depositing User: Ms Dawn Pike
Unique ID: glathesis:2005-5345
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 02 Jul 2014 13:39
Last Modified: 02 Jul 2014 13:39
URI: http://theses.gla.ac.uk/id/eprint/5345

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