New Publications: Books

'Disappearing Men: Gender Disorientation in Scottish Fiction 1979-1999' by Carole JonesDisappearing Men: Gender Disorientation in Scottish Fiction 1979-1999
by Carole Jones
Rodopi (Scottish Cultural Review of Literature and Language (SCROLL) series) 2009
Disappearing Men examines the complex and rebellious representations of gender in the work of several writers of ‘devolutionary’ Scottish fiction in the period 1979 to 1999. The study focuses on the context of a ‘crisis in masculinity’ accompanying the rapidly changing male role in the period, concluding that men often disappear from sight in this writing, highlighting issues of male insecurity and female disorientation in a new gender landscape. Hence the novels examined here by authors James Kelman, Jancie Galloway, Jackie Kay, A.L. Kennedy and Alan Warner, strongly challenge the stereotype of the Scottish ‘hardman’ and his dominance in 20th century Scottish fiction.

'James Hogg and the Literary Marketplace: Scottish Romanticism and the Working-Class Author'James Hogg and the Literary Marketplace: Scottish Romanticism and the Working-Class Author
eds. Sharon Alker and Holly Faith Nelson
Ashgate Publishing, 2009
Responding to the resurgence of interest in the Scottish working-class writer James Hogg, Sharon Alker and Holly Faith Nelson offer the first edited collection devoted to an examination of the critical implications of his writings and their position in the Edinburgh and London literary marketplaces. Writing during a particularly complex time in Scottish literary history, Hogg, a working shepherd for much of his life, is seen to challenge many of the aesthetic conventions adopted by his contemporaries and to anticipate many of the concerns voiced in discussions of literature in recent years. While the essays privilege Hogg’s primary texts and read them closely in their immediate cultural context, the volume’s contributors also introduce relevant research on oral culture, nationalism, transnationalism, intertextuality, class, colonialism, empire, psychology, and aesthetics where they serve to illuminate Hogg’s literary ingenuity as a working-class writer in Romantic Scotland.

'Death of a Ladies' Man' by Alan BissettDeath of a Ladies’ Man
by Alan Bissett
Hachette Scotland 2009
By day, Charlie Bain is the school’s most inspiring teacher. By night he prowls the stylish bars of Glasgow seducing women. Fuelled by art, drugs and fantasies of being an indie star, Charlie journeys further into hedonism, unable to see the destruction his desires are leading everyone towards… Dark, funny and deliciously erotic, Death of a Ladies’ Man is an intense portrait of male vanity, written with verve and emotional rawness.

'Gothic Fiction' by Angela WrightGothic Fiction
by Angela Wright
Palgrave MacMillan 2007
What is the Gothic? Few literary genres have attracted so much praise and critical disdain simultaneously. This Guide returns to the Gothic novel’s first wave of popularity, between 1764 and 1820, to explore and analyse the full range of contradictory responses that the Gothic evoked. Angela Wright appraises the key criticism surrounding the Gothic fiction of this period, from eighteenth-century accounts to present-day commentaries. Adopting an easy-to-follow thematic approach, the Guide examines:
–contemporary criticism of the Gothic
–the aesthetics of terror and horror
–the influence of the French Revolution
–religion, nationalism and the Gothic
–the relationship between psychoanalysis and the Gothic
–the relationship between gender and the Gothic.
Concise and authoritative, this indispensable Guide provides an overview of Gothic criticism and covers the work of a variety of well-known Gothic writers, such as Horace Walpole, Ann Radcliffe, Matthew Lewis and many others.

'The Cutting Room' by Louise WelshThe Cutting Room
by Louise Welsh
Canongate Books / Canongate U.S. 2002
The Cutting Room heralds the arrival of an outstanding, contemporary Glasgow novel. Its charismatic protagonist, Rilke, is eccentric, witty and frequently outrageous. An auctioneer by profession, he is an acknowledged expert in antiques but also considers himself something of an expert in many other fields. When Rilke comes upon a hidden collection of graphically violent erotic photographs, he feels compelled to unearth more about the deceased owner who coveted them. What follows is a compulsive journey of discovery, decadence and deviousness, steered in part by Rilke’s gay promiscuity and inquisitive nature. Louise Welsh’s writing is stylish and captivating; she combines aspects of a detective story with shades of the gothic in a colourful Glasgow ranging from the genteel suburbs to a transvestite club, auction house to the bookies, pub and porn shop. The result is a page-turning and deliciously original debut. The Cutting Room has won the Crime Writers Association award for debut crime novels, the John Creasey Memorial Dagger, and was longlisted for the Guardian First Book Award 2002.

'Revisioning Scotland: New Readings from the Cultural Canon'Revisioning Scotland: New Readings from the Cultural Canon
eds. Carla Sassi, Lindsay Lunan and Kirsty Macdonald
vol. 33 in the Anglo-American Studies series
Peter Lang, 2008
This volume offers new research and thoughtful reflection on the subject of canonicity in Scottish literature, from the Romantic grand narratives of the 18th and 19th century to post-modernist deconstructions of national myths. The essays collected here examine fundamental questions about nationalism and canon formation from a range of critical perspectives and distinct contextualisations: writers discussed include, among others, Robert Burns, Christian Carstairs, Mary Diana Dods, A. L. Kennedy, Janice Galloway, John Gait, Alasdair Gray, Christian Isobel Johnstone, Jean Marshal, Margaret Oliphant, Walter Scott and Nan Shepherd. Re-Visioning Scotland not only contributes to the contemporary, lively national debate about issues of Scottish identity and writing but also offers a rich and fascinating case-study, which will reveal to scholars, even beyond the disciplinary borders of Scottish studies, new and stimulating paths of investigation and understanding.

'Damage Land'Damage Land: New Scottish Gothic Fiction
ed. Alan Bissett
Polygon (Birlinn Books) 2001
As well as having a bloody and turbulent history, Scotland has produced some of the world’s most eerie and disturbing fiction. The national psyche seethes with Tam O’Shanters and Mr Hydes, Justified Sinners and Wasp Factories, monstrous apparitions, witches, doppelgangers and psychopaths. Here, the newest and most talented Scottish writers have plumbed their depths, creating a set of demons for a modern age: Ali Smith’s neo-Nazi, Alison Armstrong’s transvestite serial-killer, Brian McCabe’s abominable neck-boil, James Robertson’s mutant mouse, Toni Davidson’s confused sado-masochist … Be frozen by Maggie O’Farrell’s quiet touch or appalled at Andrew Murray Scott’s putrescent landscape. Experience fork and knife disorder with Jackie Kay or receive sinister letters from Helen Lamb. The range of visions and voices collected in this book – all investigating the heart of darkness, all written with a chilling skill – are enough to confirm Scotland as one of the most imaginative homes of world Gothic.

'The Routledge Companion to Gothic'The Routledge Companion to Gothic eds. Catherine Spooner and Emma McEvoy
Routledge 2007
In a wide ranging series of introductory essays written by some of the leading figures in the field, this essential guide explores the world of Gothic in all its myriad forms throughout the mid-eighteenth Century to the internet age. The Routledge Companion to Gothic includes discussion on:
– the history of Gothic
– gothic throughout the English-speaking world i.e. London, Scotland and USA as well as the postcolonial landscapes of Australia, Canada and the Indian subcontinent
– key themes and concepts ranging from hauntings and the uncanny; Gothic femininities and queer Gothic
– gothic in the modern world, from youth to graphic novels and films.
With ideas for further reading, this book is one of the most comprehensive and up-to-date guides on the diverse and murky world of the gothic in literature, film and culture.

'The Bullet Trick' by Louise WelshThe Bullet Trick
by Louise Welsh
Canongate Books / Canongate U.S. 2007
When down-at-heel Glasgow conjurer William Wilson gets booked for a string of cabaret gigs in Berlin, he’s hoping his luck’s on the turn. There were certain spectators from his last show who he’d rather forget. Like the one who’s now a corpse. Amongst the showgirls and tricksters of Berlin’s scandalous underground Wilson can abandon his heart, his head and, more importantly, his past. But secrets have a habit of catching up with him and, as he gets sucked into certain lucrative after-hours work, the line between what’s an act and what’s real starts to blur.

And, forthcoming …

'Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner'Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner
ed. Ian Duncan
Oxford University Press June 2010
‘We have heard much of the rage of fanaticism in former days, but nothing to this’ A wretched young man, ‘an outcast in the world’, tells the story of his upbringing by a heretical Calvinist minister who leads him to believe that he is one of the elect, predestined for salvation and thus above the moral law. Falling under the spell of a mysterious stranger who bears an uncanny likeness to himself, he embarks on a career as a serial murderer. Robert Wringhim’s Memoirs are presented by an editor whose attempts to explain the story only succeed in intensifying its more baffling and bizarre aspects. Is Wringhim the victim of a psychotic delusion, or has he been tempted by the devil to wage war against God’s enemies? Hogg’s sardonic and terrifying novel, too perverse for nineteenth-century taste, is now recognized as one of the masterpieces of Romantic fiction. The first edition text of 1824 has been freshly considered for this new edition. A critical introduction explores the remarkable career of the novel’s author and its historical, theological, and cultural contexts.

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