Glasgow Theses Service

Closing the circle: Neil Gunn's creation of a 'meta-novel' of the Highlands

Stokoe, Christopher John Lawson (2007) Closing the circle: Neil Gunn's creation of a 'meta-novel' of the Highlands. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

Full text available as:
[img]
Preview
PDF
Download (16MB) | Preview

Abstract

Whilst researching his bibliography of Neil M Gunn, the writer found photocopies of papers said to have been in Gunn's desk at the time of his death, amongst which were copies of both sides of a handwritten sheet' torn from a looseleaf notebook. This document, produced in response to perceived criticism by Eric Linklater, offers a unique insight into Gunn's view of his literary achievement at the end of his novel-writing career. In it Gunn sets out the theoretical concept of all his twenty novels being components of a single, composite, 'Novel of the Highlands', an abstract concept referred to in this thesis as a'meta-novel'. The thesis examines the literary viability of this meta-novel; it follows a tripartite form: chapter one, which records inter alia Highland problems, forming the introduction, chapters two to four inclusive forming the central developmental section before culminating in chapter five, the conclusion. The developmental section offers a critique of the problems outlined in the introduction via a series of 'epicyclic journeys' which approach the problems from the perspectives of childhood, history and culture, each contributing to the achievement of a positive conclusion. By considering the interplay between each chapter heading and the content of the individual novels allocated to it, the implied plot structure of the overall work can be established. Gunn habitually re-used and adapted his material over time. The evolution of this material in the individual novels is discussed. The meta-novel represents another, and final, re-use of material and, through the exercise outlined above, it is hence possible to speculate on which elements of the individual novels Gunn deemed to be important in retrospect, as it is these that develop the meta-novel's plot. Thus, crucially, the examination prompted by the existence of this primary document enables a re-evaluation of Gunn's individual novels, which this thesis also undertakes.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PR English literature
Colleges/Schools: College of Arts > School of Critical Studies > Scottish Literature
Supervisor's Name: Supervisor, not known
Date of Award: 2007
Depositing User: Miss Fiona Riggans
Unique ID: glathesis:2007-989
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 13 Aug 2009
Last Modified: 10 Dec 2012 13:30
URI: http://theses.gla.ac.uk/id/eprint/989

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item