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Title: Faith from the Ashes: Cultural Meaning in the Major Prose of George Mackay Brown (1921-1996)
Contributor(s): Hlavac, Marie (author); Ryan, John S  (supervisor)
Conferred Date: 1998
Copyright Date: 1997
Open Access: Yes
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Abstract: This thesis seeks to examine, define and categorise if possible, the major prose texts, 'Greenvoe', 'Magnus', 'Time in a Red Coat', 'Vinland' and 'Beside the Ocean of Time' and to canvas the short stories and tales written by the Scottish (Orcadian) author, George Mackay Brown. To date, little careful scholarship would seem to have been published about him in the mainstream, international recognition and praise occurring only recently, from 1994 when 'Beside the Ocean of Time' was short-listed for the Booker Prize. His seemingly very limited material and preoccupation with religious themes had set him far outside the literary norm for most of his productive life, so that any widespread appreciation of his literary talents only came late. The sources which I have used, however, are fully acknowledged in the footnotes and bibliography. This thesis will use those assessments to explore the conflicting attitudes towards Brown's work and to show that much of the appraisal of him to date is slightly patronising, rather shallow, bland but only narrowly focused. Also, occasionally, the criticism is unnecessarily bitter, Brown's anti-Presbyterianism and essential Catholicism offending some reviewers to such an extent that they lose objectivity. ... This thesis is also a product of my previous studies for a Master of Letters (Medieval Background) in English, in the course of which I explored the movement forward in time in medieval perceptions and values, in the study of J.R.R. Tolkien's major prose. History, historiography, Catholic Christianity and folk, legend and fairy-tale were also relevant to that study, and have all provided further valuable insights into an understanding and appreciation of Brown's work.
Publication Type: Thesis Masters Research
Rights Statement: Copyright 1997 - Marie Hlavac
HERDC Category Description: T1 Thesis - Masters Degree by Research
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