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From Trocchi to Trainspotting – Scottish Critical Theory Since 1960

Michael Gardiner

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This book charts the course of Scottish Critical Theory since the 1960s. It provocatively argues that ‘French’ critical-theoretical ideas have developed in tandem with Scottish writing during this period. Its themes can be read as a breakdown in Scottish Enlightenment thinking after empire - precisely the process which permitted the rise of 'theory'. The book places within a wider theoretical context writers such as Muriel Spark, Edwin Morgan, Ian Hamilton Finlay, James Kelman, Alexander Trocchi, Janice Galloway, Alan Warner and Irvine Welsh, as well as more recent work by Alan Riach and Pat Kane, who can be seen to take the 'post-Enlightenment' narrative forward. In doing so, it draws on the work of the Scottish thinkers John Macmurray and R.D. Laing as well as the continental philosophers Gilles Deleuze and Paul Virilio. Key Features
  • Engaging polemic which connects Scottish literature with critical theory and continental thinking with Scottish philosophy.
  • Provides a needed corrective to the 'theory-fear' which has often stopped Scotland looking at its own Enlightenment.
  • Offers the first book-length commentary on contemporary Scottish writers, as well as re-positioning more familiar writers such as Muriel Spark and James Kelman.
  • Contents

    One: The Idea of Resistance
    Two: The Paradox of Scottish Culture: The Twentieth-Century Experience
    Three: Spark Contra Spark
    Four: Les Évenements Écossaises
    Five: The Author as DJ
    Six: Life During Wartime
    Seven: Kelman's Interventions
    Eight: After Genre.

    About the Author

    Michael Gardiner is Associate Professor in the Department of English and Comparative Literary Studies at the University of Warwick. As well as creative fiction and comparative cultural history and world literature, his books include The Cultural Roots of British Devolution (EUP, 2004), Modern Scottish Culture (2005), and From Trocchi to Trainspotting; Scottish Literary Theory Since 1960 (2006).


    From Trocchi to Trainspotting is an important and bold attempt to push the boundaries of contemporary Scottish Studies... Gardiner's work continues to ask a series of questions that are original and deeply provocative.
    - Edinburgh Review