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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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Into the Centre of Things: Poetic Travel Narratives in the Work of Kathleen Jamie and Nan Shepherd

Into the Centre of Things: Poetic Travel Narratives in the Work of Kathleen Jamie and Nan Shepherd

Chapter:
(p.126) 12. Into the Centre of Things: Poetic Travel Narratives in the Work of Kathleen Jamie and Nan Shepherd
Source:
Kathleen Jamie
Author(s):

Eleanor Bell

Publisher:
Edinburgh University Press
DOI:10.3366/edinburgh/9780748696000.003.0019

Reflecting on her experiences of the Cairngorms in The Living Mountain (written 1940s, published 1977), Nan Shepherd writes, 'Here then may be lived a life … so untouched by any mode of apprehension but their own, that the body may be said to think. Each sense heightened to its most exquisite awareness, is in itself total experience.' For Shepherd, the ‘total experience’ offered by the mountains opened up deeper channels of the self. This chapter reflects on certain aspects of the gendered nature of the genre. In doing so, it will make specific parallels between the work of Shepherd and Kathleen Jamie, both travel writers and Scottish poets, whose texts although produced over half a century apart, are united in their questioning of their natural entitlement to place. Yet Jamie has also been very realistic about the genre, critical of its inherent masculine bias. For Jamie, the spiritual aspects of travel writing have to be continually renegotiated, their cultural, social and political dimensions taken into account. In comparing Shepherd’s The Living Mountain and a selection of Jamie’s travel writings, this chapter examines the social and cultural context of each writer’s spiritual and feminist quest, illuminating, in turn, their own particular ‘findings’.

Keywords:   Nan Shepherd, The Living Mountain, Kathleen Jamie, Among Muslims, Findings, Sightlines

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