The model of society in Lewis Grassic Gibbon's writings
The present research concerns itself with the underlying social content detected in the romance literature of James Leslie Mitchell/Lewis Grassic Gibbon (JLM/LGG), which applied to all his writings gives as a result a second meaning in his texts, that turns out to be his essential meaning. Two short stories, He Who Seeks, HWS and For Ten's Sake FTS were selected as objects of analysis. However, at least two romance novels are also analyzed even if partially only. The nature of the method employed determined that any other work by JLM/LGG, even if realistic in style, could be brought into focus at any time since all his works are mutually related both in content and imagery romance and realistic alike so that eventually, practially all his literary production came to play a more or less active role in the research. But the trilogy A Scots Quair, ASQ was excepted as a rule. Apart from the General Introduction in which are to be found the explanations concerning the nature of the problem that motivated this research, the objective pursued, the method used, etc. and the theoretical premises that contribute to its orientation, the present work is divided into three parts. Part One deals with the Model. It consists of seven chapters: whereof the first five explain the five respective phases of The Model of Society in the Writings of JLM/LGG. Chapter 6 has been conceived as a suitable illustration of the model, since it contains a partial analysis of FTS as its paradigm; as in a nutshell it suggests the whole outlook of contemporary culture, its stage, its trends, the controversies, challenges, the ideological camps, etc. and the author's own system. Chapter 7 is an attempt at explicating his imagery. meaning. This is in fact the work which led us to the essential Part Two deals with the author's cultural approach, which includes both his own credo as a writer and his assessment of culture as a historical phenomenon, according to our analysis of HWS and our brief studies on his humanist tradition respectively. Chapter 8 is devoted to the analysis of HWS, a tale based on the Grail legend conventions which the author applies to contemporary social questions in order to bring forth both his critique of modern culture and his plea in favour of world peace. It also highlights his conception of freedom, equality, and fraternity. Chapter 9 seeks to throw light on the intellectual concerns of the author and his debt to the humanist tradition in thought on the one hand, and to the same tradition in literature and art on the other. His debt to French socialism, to the German philosophy and the scientific tradition in natural science. His debt to romantic, anarchist and socialist writers. Here many familiar names turn up: from Campanella and More to Engels and Marx, from Columbus to Rousseau, from Morris and Shelley to H.G. Wells, from Shakespeare and Dickens to Tolstoy, etc. Part Three deals with the ideological question. It consists of seven chapters, each one devoted to some specific issue highlighted in the model. Since the author perceives them as part of an ideological battle, the subdivision "Protagonists" includes the relevant humanist trends that the author rallies round his cause, whereas the "Antagonists" includes trends which the author assesses as opposite to those of humanism. Chapter 10 is devoted to highlighting the humanism that the author seems to have derived from Rousseau as his main source: his views on the respectability of the human race, on the origin of social inequality, on Man I s perfectibility, etc. Chapter 11 explains the real interest of the author in Diffusionism and why he incorporated it into his model. The importance he saw in the mechanisms of the diffusion of culture, and the merits of the English School of Anthropology of G.E. Smith, Perry, and Rivers. Chapter 12 analyzes the influence Haecke1 had on JLM/LGG. This provides scientific support for most of his conceptions, especially those connected with nature as a whole and of the inner connection and interdependence of all phenomena, and why as a monist he combats dualistic thought. Chapter 13 takes a look at the influence that Kropotkin had on JLM/LGG, especially in relation to some specific humanistic views, apart from his subsequent anarchistic idea that his model pursues as ultimate target. This in turn explains his political strategy to the future. Chapter 14 is devoted to analyzing Bebel's influence in relation to the feminine question in History. It explains why some authors have detected a certain "feminine personality" in JLM. The two antagonists are Spengler and Nietzsche who represent the pessimistic, elitist, bellicist, nihilist, etc. trends which the author sees as arising from the perceptions of an upper class social consciousness on the one hand, and from the neo-Darwinian notions on the other. Finally, the work closes with some concluding statements, which, generally, assess the model as conveying a clear social content. The latter arises from a materialist analysis of the culture to his time, and an extrapolation of its probable outcome and destination in its movement towards the distant future and the distant stars in the cosmos.