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Title: Lewis Crassic Gibbon/James Leslie Mitchell : gender, sex and sexualities
Author: Kerr, Christine.
ISNI:       0000 0001 3597 6132
Awarding Body: University of Sussex
Current Institution: University of Sussex
Date of Award: 2002
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This thesis examines Lewis Grassic Gibbon/James Leslie Mitchell's promotion of the transformative power of the feminine and its offshoot of freer sexuality as a basis for new relationships among individuals, their societies and the world. As a result of Gibbon's revaluation of gender values, the feminine becomes identified as innate human "good," largely subsumed under, and set in opposition to, the evil perpetrated by the masculine historical process. Distinct from actual women, the feminine can be reclaimed by men too, affecting Gibbon's representations of both sexes. The feminine emerges as revolutionary - and not a conservative form of symbolism limiting women's subjectivity - in that it prepares the ground for a return to society and fuels both men and women with the power to challenge society's (masculine) values and institutions. A world-view structured around a gender dichotomy is nothing new. An overview of Gibbon's literary contemporaries, however, reveals that his prioritising of gender and sexual issues is unusual for a Scots male writer of the 1920sl1930s, although it does align him with female, feminist writers of his period (ch. I). Gibbon's early writing reconsiders stereotypes and archetypes of women/femininity but does not advance a practical programme for change (eh. 2). The influence ofDiffusionism, pronounced after 1930, manifests itself by portrayals of the male's re-connection to his "pre-civilisation" self through the feminine, allowing men and women together to renounce evils such as religion and masculine versions of history (eh. 3). Chapter 4 analyses various models that interact with factors such as race and sexual orientation to transcend gender disunity, although Gibbon's vision is occasionally marred by scepticism and blind-spots. His later work reveals a developing conviction that the individual- male or female - may have to lead the battle against evil, aiding transmission of the idea of "good." This, however, may lead to an overwriting of essential feminine values as is seen by the ending of A Scots Quair (chs. 5 & 6). In an analysis giving equal weight to most of his fiction, the thesis concludes that Gibbon's first step to solving civilization's malaise is a movement beyond polarities that make genders and sexes antagonistic, a ''third way," creating a rebirth of the individual and society when people re-awaken to the divinity in self and other and reconnect to the feminine. This movement, however, runs the risk of staying conjectural since actual measures for social change prove harder for Gibbon to delineate.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Scottish fiction