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Title: A 'God-ordained web of creation' : the faithful fictions of George Mackay Brown
Author: Bicket, Juliet Linden
Awarding Body: University of Glasgow
Current Institution: University of Glasgow
Date of Award: 2012
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This thesis represents the first extensive examination of the ‘faithful fictions’ of the Orkney writer George Mackay Brown (1921-1996). Until now, critical appreciations of the Catholic imagination informing Brown’s opus have been vague and Brown has been seen as a throwback; his Catholicism only part of a reactionary impulse that denies modernity a place in his oeuvre. Through a thematic critical analysis of four major strands of Brown’s corpus that display his Catholic imagination, it is contended that Brown has been misunderstood by the Scottish literary-critical tradition, and that his creative work on religious subjects is diverse, experimental and devotional. The thesis provides a biography of Brown’s faith. It looks at his conversion accounts, and it discusses the interaction between these and other accounts of (spiritual) autobiography. The thesis looks in a detailed way at three mediators of grace in Brown’s faithful fictions: the Virgin Mary, St Magnus, and Christ, whose nativity Brown frequently depicts. By discussing their different roles, depictions and the various literary forms that tell their stories, this study will discover the ways in which Brown encapsulates his Catholic faith in his creative work. The thesis questions whether Catholicism harms his literary output, as some critics have suggested, and shows the ways in which Brown’s writing interacts with other Catholic literature – old and new, at home and abroad. Manuscripts, including several unpublished poems, plays and stories, will be referenced throughout, as will rare and unseen correspondence. The thesis takes in the entire scope of Brown’s body of work and is not limited to a single mode or genre in his corpus. Ultimately, this study contends that Brown is an excellent case-study of the neglected Catholic writer in twentieth-century Scotland, and that there is much work to be done in appraising the Catholic imaginations of many post-Reformation Scottish Catholic writers.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: PR English literature