‘[N]ew connections strung out over time’: a study of Liz Lochhead’s poetry and drama from 1972–2016

Clark, Nia Alexandra (2021) ‘[N]ew connections strung out over time’: a study of Liz Lochhead’s poetry and drama from 1972–2016. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Liz Lochhead (b. 1947) is one of Scotland’s most decorated contemporary writers, however, an extensive study of her poetry and drama is lacking to date. Drawing on perspectives included in Robert Crawford’s and Anne Varty’s Liz Lochhead’s Voices (1993) and Varty’s Edinburgh Companion to Liz Lochhead (2013), which provide a foundational understanding of her work, this thesis considers Lochhead’s arrival as a poet in 1970s Scotland and charts her progression to the role of Scots Makar in 2011.

A study of the critical landscape has revealed a gendered approach to Lochhead’s corpus. Taking its cue from Lochhead’s varied output, this thesis interrogates readily accepted assumptions of Lochhead’s work, that it is merely Scottish, female, funny, and feisty, as established in early reviews by Stewart Conn, Robert Garioch, and Alexander Scott. It argues that Scottish female experience is at the centre of Lochhead’s corpus, but by illuminating the other themes present in her writing, we can refine our understanding of Lochhead’s work, making new connections between Lochhead and her contemporaries.

This thesis undertakes a close analysis of a range of Lochhead’s publications, contextualised with reference to cultural politics, interviews, and archival research of unpublished material held in the University of Glasgow’s Special Collections. A chronological approach, informed by the publication or performance dates of Lochhead’s work, has enabled this thesis to trace the development of a writer, from a young woman writing semi-autobiographically to the public face of poetry in Scotland. Meanwhile, a holistic examination of Lochhead’s original work and her beginnings at Glasgow School of Art presents her development from painter to poet, to poet and playwright, and the development of voices in tandem with this.

By unearthing Lochhead’s collaborations, revues, and original unpublished drama, and by casting new light on the importance to her work of the visual arts and her relationships with artists, this thesis gives rise to a new narrative. Through her choice of subject matter and a variety of written voices, Lochhead emphasises the importance of democratising the arts, therefore making poetry and drama accessible to a new audience.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Additional Information: Due to copyright issues the electronic version of this thesis will not be viewable after the embargo period has expired.
Keywords: Liz Lochhead, Scotland, ekphrasis, collaboration, Hobsbaum, poetry, drama, visual art, feminism, contemporary Scottish society, sectarianism.
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN0080 Criticism
Colleges/Schools: College of Arts > School of Critical Studies > Scottish Literature
Funder's Name: Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC)
Supervisor's Name: Brown, Dr. Rhona and Mackay, Dr. Pauline
Date of Award: 2021
Embargo Date: 16 September 2022
Depositing User: Theses Team
Unique ID: glathesis:2021-82451
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 20 Sep 2021 12:13
Last Modified: 23 Sep 2021 10:13
Thesis DOI: 10.5525/gla.thesis.82451
URI: http://theses.gla.ac.uk/id/eprint/82451

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