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Kathleen JamieEssays and Poems on Her work$
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Rachel Falconer

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780748696000

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748696000.001.0001

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‘An Orderly Rabble’: Plural Identities in Jizzen

‘An Orderly Rabble’: Plural Identities in Jizzen

(p.62) 6. ‘An Orderly Rabble’: Plural Identities in Jizzen
Kathleen Jamie

Timothy L. Baker

Edinburgh University Press

Jizzen (1999) has frequently been approached in terms of its clear parallels between individual and national birth and development. Throughout the volume, however, Jamie presents collective identity not in terms of unity but rather, in the words of ‘Lucky Bag’, an ‘orderly rabble’. Identity is figured not simply in terms of shared experience, but also through what might be termed a politics of difference, whereby the nation – and by extension, perhaps, the self – is seen in terms of individuals defined in relation to other individuals. This approach is exemplified in the collection’s structure, wherein poems in different registers and voices closely abut. This chapter argues, in comparison to other contemporary poets, that in Jizzen Jamie turns her focus to the construction of a tentative ‘we’ that is amplified in later volumes. Her complex organisation of the volume suggests a new way of thinking about how literature identifies and creates a common world.

Keywords:   Kathleen Jamie, Jizzen, National identity, Difference, Intertextuality, childhood, collectivity, defamiliarisation, migration

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