Pilgrims of conscience : quests for morality and self-knowledge in the fiction of Robin Jenkins
The thesis aims to provide a comprehensive overview of Robin Jenkins's literary achievement, with specific focus on the issues of self-discovery and morality as presented in his work. It is divided into five main parts, which include an introduction and conclusion. Parts II, III and IV are each subdivided into chapters that deal with individual novels and short stories by Jenkins. Whilst explaining the aims and structure of the thesis, the introduction also provides some background information on Jenkins's life, character, and views, discusses possible influences on his work, and comments on Jenkins's place in Scottish and European literary and intellectual thought. Part II deals with Jenkins's early Scottish novels (1950-1963). It aims to establish the emergence and growth of different types of the pilgrim figure in Jenkins's fiction, as well as to introduce other issues that are central to Jenkins's overall analysis of human morality. Part III discusses Jenkins's foreign fiction (1960-1974). It examines Jenkins's treatment of the imperial theme in a historical and literary context, and discusses some aspects of postcolonial theory in relation to Jenkins's analysis of cultural and racial tensions between Empire and colony. It further establishes Jenkins's interest in the limits of human moral capacity, highlights the importance of individual self-discovery in his character portrayals, and suggests that the universality of human moral perception and experience is central to his work. Part IV deals with Jenkins's later Scottish fiction (1968-2000). It suggests that Jenkins's later fiction both repeats and diverges from his earlier work, and that the later narratives are marked by greater authorial detachment and narrative ambivalence than the earlier work. It then discusses how Jenkins continues to address issues of self-discovery and morality, as well as comments on the increasingly self-reflective nature of his most recent fiction.