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Rural Modernity in BritainA Critical Intervention$
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Kristin Bluemel and Michael McCluskey

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9781474420952

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: September 2021

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474420952.001.0001

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Transformative Pastoral: Lewis Grassic Gibbon’s A Scots Quair

Transformative Pastoral: Lewis Grassic Gibbon’s A Scots Quair

(p.149) Chapter 9 Transformative Pastoral: Lewis Grassic Gibbon’s A Scots Quair
Rural Modernity in Britain

Nick Hubble

Edinburgh University Press

Beginning in the rural community of the first volume of the Scots Quair trilogy and progressing to the city setting of the third, Nick Hubble traces the entire arc of how modernization is experienced from a rural perspective. He challenges postwar criticism of Gibbon as being insufficiently aligned with the British Welfare State’s valuation of the urban and the industrial by arguing that Gibbon equates such values with the negative experience of war and patriarchal subjectivity. Focusing on the central female character, Chris Guthrie, and drawing on the work of feminist critics and William Empson’s concept of pastoral, the chapter investigates how Gibbon relates modern subjectivity and intersubjectivity to the ‘land’ in its broadest conception. Hubble argues that Gibbon moves beyond an oppositional account of rural and urban modernity to ‘compass and express’ the life of the Scottish nation in a way that had hitherto been impossible.

Keywords:   Lewis Grassic Gibbon, A Scot’s Quair, Pastoral, War, William Empson, Feminist criticism, Scottish literature, Rural modernization

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