“Nature’s social union”: Robert Burns, John Steinbeck and early twentieth-Century America

MacKenzie, John (2021) “Nature’s social union”: Robert Burns, John Steinbeck and early twentieth-Century America. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Abstract

This thesis examines the connections between Robert Burns and John Steinbeck in order to determine whether the American author was influenced by the Scots poet and, if so, to what extent. There has been a tendency, both culturally and academically, to presume an influence given the latter’s appropriation of Burns’s phrase from ‘To a Mouse’ for the title of his 1937 novella, Of Mice and Men. Often, those who reference this link do not delve deeper into Steinbeck’s reasons for the naming of his novella.

The thesis explores how Steinbeck was exposed to the work of Burns as he grew up and developed his writing career in the early decades of the twentieth century. It also looks at Burns’s more general influence in the United States during this period. The thesis further examines evidence of the influence of Burns in Of Mice and Men and other Steinbeck novels, and considers the similarities in outlook, experience and political ideology between the two writers. Thus, this in-depth study into the influence of Burns on Steinbeck seeks to address the common assumptions about the connection between the two writers which, until now, have been based solely on Steinbeck’s usage of the title Of Mice and Men.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN0080 Criticism
P Language and Literature > PR English literature
P Language and Literature > PS American literature
Colleges/Schools: College of Arts > School of Critical Studies > Scottish Literature
Supervisor's Name: McCue, Professor Kirsteen and Young, Dr. Ronnie
Date of Award: 2021
Depositing User: Theses Team
Unique ID: glathesis:2021-82549
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 03 Nov 2021 14:08
Last Modified: 03 Nov 2021 14:08
Thesis DOI: 10.5525/gla.thesis.82549
URI: http://theses.gla.ac.uk/id/eprint/82549

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