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Title: Closing the circle : Neil Gunn's creation of a 'meta-novel' of the Highlands
Author: Stokoe, Christopher John Lawson
Awarding Body: University of Glasgow
Current Institution: University of Glasgow
Date of Award: 2007
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Whilst researching his bibliography of Neil M Gunn, the writer found photocopies of papers said to have been in Gunn's desk at the time of his death, amongst which were copies of both sides of a handwritten sheet' torn from a looseleaf notebook. This document, produced in response to perceived criticism by Eric Linklater, offers a unique insight into Gunn's view of his literary achievement at the end of his novel-writing career. In it Gunn sets out the theoretical concept of all his twenty novels being components of a single, composite, 'Novel of the Highlands', an abstract concept referred to in this thesis as a'meta-novel'. The thesis examines the literary viability of this meta-novel; it follows a tripartite form: chapter one, which records inter alia Highland problems, forming the introduction, chapters two to four inclusive forming the central developmental section before culminating in chapter five, the conclusion. The developmental section offers a critique of the problems outlined in the introduction via a series of 'epicyclic journeys' which approach the problems from the perspectives of childhood, history and culture, each contributing to the achievement of a positive conclusion. By considering the interplay between each chapter heading and the content of the individual novels allocated to it, the implied plot structure of the overall work can be established. Gunn habitually re-used and adapted his material over time. The evolution of this material in the individual novels is discussed. The meta-novel represents another, and final, re-use of material and, through the exercise outlined above, it is hence possible to speculate on which elements of the individual novels Gunn deemed to be important in retrospect, as it is these that develop the meta-novel's plot. Thus, crucially, the examination prompted by the existence of this primary document enables a re-evaluation of Gunn's individual novels, which this thesis also undertakes.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: PR English literature