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Title: Dialect in contemporary Scottish and Irish fiction
Author: McGuire, Matthew
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 2007
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There has to date been no attempt at a detailed comparative study of contemporary Irish and Scottish literature: this thesis constitutes an attempt to do so. Specifically, it looks at the significance of the dialect novel in writing after 1979. My claim is that the dialect novel must be read in terms of the crisis facing working-class communities at the end of the twentieth century. Despite certain attempts to declare class a redundant critical category, I argue that it is fundamental to our understanding of contemporary Irish and Scottish culture. Chapter one traces the emergence of Irish-Scottish studies as an interdisciplinary field within the humanities. It also outlines the political and theoretical challenges confronting Marxism at the end of the twentieth century. Here I will introduce the work of Italian Marxist Antonio Gramsci. Chapter two looks at Scotland and the work of James Kelman. It examines attempts by nationalist critics to locate Kelman’s work within the so-called 'Renaissance’ of contemporary Scottish literature. Against this, I argue that Kelman’s use of dialect belongs to a class based politics that makes problematic the politics of nationalism. Chapter three looks at the Republic of Ireland and the work of Roddy Doyle. Focusing in The Commitments (1987), it examines the novel’s contentious claim that the working-class are the niggers of Ireland. The conflation of class and race will be examined in detail, particularly in light of Kelman’s own insistence that his work belongs to literature of de-colonisation. Chapter four examines the wholly neglected issue of class within the post ’69 conflict in Northern Ireland. It focuses on the role of dialect in Frances Molloy’s No Mate for the Magpie (1985) and John Boyd’s Out of my Class (1985). Chapter five considers all three regions in a more concentrated form of analysis. It concentrates on Richard Kearney’s concept of postnationalism and the postmodern theory upon which it is predicated. Although popular among both Scottish and Irish critics, I contend that this is an essentially misguided critical enterprise.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available