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Title: Transcendental kinship in the work of George Friel and Alasdair Gray
Author: Miller, Gavin Harrison MacKenzie
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 2000
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This thesis examines what I term 'transcendental kinship' in the work of George Friel and Alasdair Gray. This may be defined as the attitude of one who tries to surpass everyday embodied reality in an effort to relate to spiritual or mental others. The first chapter examines the anthropological notion of kinship and its relevance to Friel's short stories. There we discover how personal identities are formed within networks of mutual recognition, and how even the relationship of worshipper to deity is modelled after this pattern. In the second chapter, we see how Friel's alienated protagonists attempt to relate to a higher world - a kinship which they suppose to be revealed in providential patterns of co-incidence. This chapter also develops the notion of recognition in its second sense as that process by which one receives confirmation or disconfirmation of one's self-conception. This kind of recognition is the theme of my third chapter. Gray's protagonists are inculcated with a sense of guilt by the recognitive responses of their community. It is for this reason that they develop a compensatory personal religion in which a higher power approves of and validates their spontaneous inclinations. Only a return, however, to everyday relations of trust can undo the pathological side-effects of this transcendental kinship. My fourth chapter transfers my analysis to the act of reading itself. For Friel and for Gray, the novel is traditionally a way by which the reader is allowed to feel that he or she has glimpsed a world of greater reality than the everyday phenomenal scene. Consequently, both these authors develop innovative narrative techniques in order to challenge this complicity with the reader's own alienation from recognitive relations. I conclude my thesis with a chapter which analyses and integrates the specifically Scottish philosophical context which informs these motifs of transcendental kinship in the work of Friel and Gray.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available