The Fabulous Matter of Fact

The Fabulous Matter of Fact : Poetics of Neil M. Gunn

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The 20th-century Scottish novelist, Neil M.Gunn, is perhaps best remembered for his evocative accounts of Highland life in "The Silver Darlings", "Morning Tide", and "Highland River". Recognized by his contemporaries, T.S.Eliot and Hugh MacDiarmid, as an interesting and important writer, his books have touched the hearts and minds of men and women all over the world. This study is a comprehensive account of all his novels, over 20 in total, supplementing close textual criticism with reference to his poetry, short stories, essays and letters. It identifies and discusses his illusions and key sources and relates his work to the values of the late 19th-century Celtic Twilight writers. The later novels are discussed in terms of an increasing interest in the limitations and loci of human compassion and there is close study of an early novel never published in book form.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 240 pages
  • 144.8 x 223 x 20.8mm | 482.72g
  • Edinburgh, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 0748602593
  • 9780748602599

Back cover copy

The twentieth-century novelist Neil M. Gunn is best remembered for his evocative accounts of Highland life as given in The Silver Darlings, Morning Tide and Highland River. In The Fabulous Matter of Fact, Richard Price goes beyond this starting point and provides the reader with both a comprehensive study of all Gunn's extant novels (including an early unpublished novel), and a detailed account of the literary context within which Gunn worked. Close textual criticism is enriched by references to Gunn's poetry, short stories, essays and letters, and many of his key sources and allusions are identified for the first time. Price explores Gunn's early literary relationship with the Celtic Twilight writers of the late nineteenth century, and his subsequent relation to the work of modernists such as Eliot and Proust, showing that Gunn was much more aware of literary movements than has been believed. Price also describes the historical context of the 1940s, focusing on Gunn's complex reaction to the war and his views on the nature of freedom, and he traces the extent, in Gunn's later novels, of his increasing interest in the limitations and loci of human compassion. Including useful plot summaries and a radical re-reading of the novels from the mid-1940s onwards, this is the most wide-ranging, approachable and informative guide to the work of Neil M. Gunn available.
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Table of contents

Crawling from the hinterland; twilight and the new morning; making history; different sources; city work and country play; progress and progression; the war at home; the good shepherd; God's fools; a new commandment.
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