‘Space that needs time and time that needs life’: The spanning of time from the ancient to the futuristic in the poetry and plays of Edwin Morgan

Osmond-Williams, Philippa (2016) ‘Space that needs time and time that needs life’: The spanning of time from the ancient to the futuristic in the poetry and plays of Edwin Morgan. MPhil(R) thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Abstract

James McGonigal in his biography of Edwin Morgan, Beyond the Last Dragon (2010), notes that it was in the poet’s ‘old age’ that the nature of time, together with that of love, became ‘the guiding theme[s] of his work’. This dissertation considers how time, from the ancient past to the futuristic, is explored by Morgan throughout his work, and argues that by contextualising modern ideals in prehistoric and futuristic environments Morgan is able to connect and bring together humanity from widely separate areas of time. By connecting past, present and future in a range of texts, the poet is emphasising humankind’s ability for progress and regeneration. The structure of the dissertation represents the circularities of time that Morgan refers to throughout his work, starting from the final decade of Morgan’s life before circling through his earlier years of writing and ending once more in the twenty-first century. Each chapter closely analyses one or two of Morgan’s major texts: Demon (1999) and The Play of Gilgamesh (2005) in Chapter One, then Chapter Two: Star Gate: Science Fiction Poems (1979); Chapter Three: Sonnets from Scotland (1984); Chapter Four: ‘Planet Wave’ (1997) and Chapter Five: ‘Cathures’ (2002). The texts are used to discuss a wide range of themes that come from Morgan’s exploration of time, such as personal and political identity, multiple realities, religion, science, the local and the universal. By considering the relevance of author biography when studying these texts, the dissertation argues against the Barthesian approach of separating literary work from its creator and explores how Morgan’s own identity comes through in relation to particular figures in his work. Close analysis of the texts is supported throughout with contextual information from interviews with Morgan published in Nothing Not Giving Messages (1990), McGonigal’s biography, and archival research of personal letters from the University of Glasgow’s Special Collections.

Item Type: Thesis (MPhil(R))
Qualification Level: Masters
Keywords: Edwin Morgan, time, regeneration, identity.
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General)
Colleges/Schools: College of Arts > School of Critical Studies > Scottish Literature
Supervisor's Name: Riach, Professor Alan and Brown, Dr. Rhona
Date of Award: 2016
Depositing User: Ms Philippa Osmond-Williams
Unique ID: glathesis:2016-7151
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 06 Apr 2016 10:11
Last Modified: 07 Mar 2019 14:05
URI: http://theses.gla.ac.uk/id/eprint/7151

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