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Title: 'Keeping the sources pure' : the making of George Mackay Brown : a comparative study of his work, with special reference to his reception of Edwin Muir, Gerard Manley Hopkins and Thomas Mann
Author: Schmid, Sabine
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 2000
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In this study I attempt to draw attention to the complexities behind the "making" of George Mackay Brown. I re-address the question of his literary rating by contextualising his work within the broader framework of twentieth-century British and European literary practices and traditions of thought. Whilst duly acknowledging the significance of Brown's Orcadian background, this study is based on the perception that it is the creative tension between Orkney as a source of potent symbols and patterns and other literary and extra-literary influences that gives his work a distinct profile. Rather than following the question of what Brown did for Orkney and for Orcadian or Scottish literature and literary identity, I examine what Scottish, English and European writing and writers did for Brown and how they helped to define his aesthetic and spiritual stance. Accordingly, I set his work, for contrast and comparison among the works of writers who profoundly influenced him. After establishing the background to Brown-scholarship in chapter one, clarifying the reception of Brown in Britain as well as discussing factors that affected the evaluation of his work, I proceed in chapter two with a consideration of Brown's and Muir's literary and personal relationship. Chapter three establishes a case of affinity and influence between Hopkins and Brown. Separated chronologically, the two poets are yet remarkably contemporaneous in their spiritual vision and their approach to poetry and the word. Hopkins provided a stimulus for Brown to look for a system that would allow him to exercise and deploy the latent power and the unused resources in the English language. Moreover, their shared religious beliefs are further connected to their prophetic and bardic conception of the poetic office and the poetic techniques they use.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available