Tracing masculinities in twentieth-century Scottish men's fiction
Tracing Masculinities in Twentieth-Century Scottish Men's Fiction takes account of the representation of masculinities in a selected group of novels by twentieth-century Scottish male authors. Rather than attempt a chronological survey of fictions during this period, the argument proceeds by analysing groups of texts which are axiomatic in specific ways: the Glasgow realist novels of the 1930s and post-1970s, from the works of James Barke and George Blake to those of William McIlvanney and James Kelman, which offer particular perspectives on relationships between men of different class identifications; fictions reliant upon existentialism, which intersect with the masculinist values of the Glasgow tradition in the figure of Kelman, but are also produced by Alexander Trocchi and Irvine Welsh; and novels which employ the technique of 'cross-writing', or literary transvestism, from the Renaissance fictions of Lewis Grassic Gibbon to the postmodern works of Alan Warner and Christopher Whyte. In a critical field which has always been concerned with a tradition of largely male-produced texts privileging the actions of male characters, but has neglected fully to consider the production and reception of those texts in terms of their specific articulations of gender positions, this thesis employs theories of masculinities developed in the study of American and English literatures since the 1980s in order to provide new perspectives on Scottish novels. It also draws upon the materialist theory of Louis Althusser for a model of ideological identification, as well as utilising several psychoanalytic and deconstructive approaches to gender formation in Western culture, epitomised by the work of Judith Butler and Kaja Silverman. The various perspectives on masculine gender and sexual identities thus assembled are primarily directed towards considering the novels under discussion as 'men's texts' - texts not only by or about men, but often directed towards men as readers too.