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From Grey Granite to Urban Grit: A Revolution in Perspectives

David Borthwick, University of Aberdeen

A revised and updated version of this paper, along with eleven other essays on Gibbon’s works, is available in A Flame in the Mearns, published June 2003 by ASLS.

References are given at the end of the document.

Grassic Gibbon’s Grey Granite 1, despite being sixty-seven years old, provides a narrative model for describing urban life, and working class life, that is constantly borrowed from in contemporary fiction. Gibbon’s model is seen, perhaps most recently, in the juxtaposed voices and narratives utilised by Irvine Welsh. It strikes me that both Gibbon and Welsh have portrayed an urban sphere that is in a state of cultural and economic crisis. The working classes of both Gibbon’s Duncairn and Welsh’s fictionalised Edinburgh share a level of change and uncertainty characterised by the machinations of corporate economics. In Grey Granite and, indeed, within Welsh’s vision of Edinburgh, dependence on low-paid labour and handouts from the state are central to the survival of many protagonists. Gibbon’s ‘broo men’ and Welsh’s ‘dole-moles’ and addicts are characterised by their economic unproductiveness. They are unable to contribute fully to society and, furthermore, to a society in which material wealth and economic success determines rank. What we have here are two instances of what Jürgen Neubauer 2 has described as ‘problem populations’ who are ‘redundant, stranded and bored’.

Ian S. Munro, referring to an article by William Montgomerie, makes the point that Gibbon’s Duncairn is ‘a city without a history, without development, without depth, without background’ 3. To a non-Scottish reader, Welsh’s fictionalised Edinburgh is equally unknowable. Of course, Gibbon’s city is fictional 4 while Welsh’s Edinburgh is a representation of a real location. However, without a Scot’s background knowledge, Welsh’s Edinburgh, too, is without history or depth. Welsh’s references to Montgomery Street or The Meadows occupy the same status as the Windmill Steps or Craigneuks to the uninformed reader. The fictional Duncairn, like the fictionalised Edinburgh, is ‘anonymous and voiceless despite the tumult of traffic and noise of its inhabitants’ (Munro, p. 177). The communal ‘you voice’, expressing ‘generally acknowledged truths’ 5 that summed up community opinion in Kinraddie and Segget has been lost in the city of Duncairn. The city’s voices are stratified and fragmented according to geography and class. Duncairn’s working-class ‘keelies’ have no voice that can sound out across the city: their voice is confined to the slums of Paldy Parish and the Cowgate. In Welsh’s fictionalised Muirhouse and Wester Hailes, there is no communal voice whatsoever that can express working-class experience in a holistic way. Nonetheless, these two fictional cities are only knowable by the multiple voices of their inhabitants, and it is these voices, and working-class voices in particular, that I will go on to explore.

Gibbon’s Duncairn is socially, geographically and ideologically stratified. The multiple voices of the city make Duncairn a city of ideas. The many represented voices, across the boundaries of class, represent in themselves commitments, ideologies and obsessions. These commitments range from Neil Quaritch’s view that Douglasism is ‘the Only Plan to Save Civilisation’ (GG, p. 51), to John Cushnie’s desperate attempts to retain his "improved" status. There is also Miss Murgatroyd’s ultra-conservative Unionist Ladies. So too, we have the Reverend MacShilluck’s congregation, hermetically sealed in Craigneuks, with only the Daily Runner to rely on for happenings outwith their own district of the town. The Daily Runner provides ready-made modern parables for MacShilluck that affirm the dignified status of his parishioners in opposition to what he perceives as ‘the atheist, loose-living times’ (GG, 58) encouraged by the political activists in Footforthie. The class-based ideologies of geographically situated groups in the middle and upper-classes perpetuate their own social identities using a communal voice that is constantly in agreement with itself. However, it is not a communal voice recognisable to the inhabitants of Kinraddie or Segget. Gibbon lets us know that the gossiping ‘you’ voice of these communities, expressing ‘generally acknowledged truths’, and largely using a Scots vocabulary, is not suitable as a communal voice for the inhabitants of Craigneuks. Gibbon employs an external narrator to report events and to sum up a communal sentiment. The narrator does so as Craigneuks reads the newspaper over breakfast on the morning following the riot at Gowans and Gloag’s. We are told: ‘all Craigneuks read the news with horror, every word of it’ (GG, p. 122). While Gibbon’s narrator is mocking and satiric as he describes the rich breakfasts enjoyed in Craigneuks, he does succeed in conveying a communal sentiment that is fitting. He ends this narrative with Craigneuks’ resolution on the strikers: ‘[s]omething would have to be done about them’ (GG, p. 122).

The class-system in Duncairn is held firm by agreement in issues that affirm ‘gentry’ identities in opposition to sections of the population who are geographically removed in peripheral areas of the town and who are, furthermore, traditionally employed in manual, low-paid forms of work. The alarm in Craigneuks at news of ‘Red’ tendencies among the ‘keelies’ is because such agitation threatens to upset the status-quo of the class system in the town. News of Communist agitation also unnerves the residents of wealthy areas of the town, because their idea of the working classes is disrupted by it. Among Duncairn’s gentrified inhabitants, the working-class in themselves exist as an idea rather than as a reality. This is seen when news of ‘Red’ agitators among the Footforthie ‘keelies’ filters up to Craigneuks care of the Daily Runner. The town fathers immediately view ‘Reds’ and working-class ‘keelies’ as being distinct. Lord Provost Speight puts the incident down to ‘Communist agents, paid agitators who were trained in Moscow’ (GG, p. 58). For Speight, the problem does not originate among the working-class in Duncairn. He uses a general comment, regarding the consequences of Communism in Russia, in order to offset the riot’s relevance to any unrest in Duncairn. In this way, he affirms his own ideas of the identity of the Duncairn workers. He is reported as saying that ‘the working-class was sound as a bell’ (GG, p. 58). During the strike, when workers who ‘scabbed’ are attacked, the Daily Runner also differentiates between ‘Red’ strikers and Duncairn’s idealised vision of the working-class. The strikers are accused of doing ‘awful things’ to ‘working folk that were coming decent-like from their jobs’ (GG, p. 122). To the higher orders of Duncairn—the gentry—the ‘keelies’ of Footforthie do not exist as a social reality. At the end of the novel, as the hunger strike is organised, the Daily Runner sub-editor takes the following line: ‘Hunger—there was none anywhere in Duncairn’ (GG, p. 196). In Gibbon’s fictional city, the working-classes are a homogenous and indistinct entity, existing only as a bourgeois idea. John Cushnie’s ‘feeungsay’ speaks of ‘the Communists, coarse beasts’ who are ‘aye stirring up the working-class’. Her opinions can be seen to be representative of the views of the Duncairn ‘gentry’. Her speech regarding the town’s working classes is reported as follows: ‘they could be led astray by agitators, they’d no sense and needed to be strongly ruled’ (GG, p. 173).

In Irvine Welsh’s 1995 novel Marabou Stork Nightmares 6, Roy Strang and his family return from a disastrous attempt at emigration to South Africa. The family has left a South Africa still deep within the Apartheid regime. As a white family in South Africa, the Strangs have enjoyed special privileges. Before they leave, Roy contemplates his re-instalment into a Scottish working-class housing scheme. He finds that, as a result of the Apartheid regime, he has gained new insights into the family’s forthcoming living conditions. He explains:

Edinburgh to me represented serfdom. I realised that it was exactly the same situation as Johannesburg; the only difference was that the Kaffirs were white and called schemies or draftpaks. Back in Edinburgh, we would be Kaffirs; condemned to live out our lives in townships like Muirhouse or So-Wester-Hailes-To (MS, p. 80).

While in South Africa, Roy’s Uncle Gordon, whom the family lodge with, expresses various opinions regarding his servants. Roy recounts one such sentiment: ‘[e]ven the good ones needed white people to look after them, to provide them with jobs and homes’ (MS, p. 65). Gordon’s sentiments echo those of John Cushnie’s ‘feeungsay’ in their insistence on provision and rule for those seen as weak and inferior. Ironically enough, throughout the Strangs’ stay in South Africa, Roy’s uncle Gordon provides the family with a home, and initially finds Roy’s father a job. Of course, Welsh is not saying that Roy and his family are somehow Scottish ‘Kaffirs’. What he is saying, however, is that, in the context of this country, they are analogous to the oppressed population of Johannesburg. While in South Africa, Roy notes that Johannesburg looks to him like ‘a large Muirhouse-in-the-sun’ (MS, p. 61). On his return to Scotland, he says: ‘Edinburgh had the same politics as Johannesburg: it had the same politics as any city’ (MS, p. 80, my italics). He describes his scheme as ‘a concentration camp for the poor’ (MS, p. 22). Similarities between Roy’s Edinburgh schemes and Duncairn’s districts of Paldy Parish and the Cowgate are fairly apparent. Roy is trapped in a world of ‘self-contained camps with fuck all in them, miles fae the toon’ (MS, p. 80). In Welsh’s present-day depiction of Edinburgh, the ‘problem populations’ mentioned earlier—those who are economically unproductive, who cannot contribute fully to society—are situated geographically on the peripheries of a city dominated by Capitalist economics. In this way, they exist outwith the mercantile city in the same way that Duncairn’s working-classes live in de-centralised areas where they exist, not as social reality, but as an idea: in terms of social homogenisation, there is not much that separates a ‘keelie’ from a ‘schemie’.

I have already said that Gibbon’s Duncairn exists as a city of ideas. Ideas, particularly political ideas, help to unify and strengthen Duncairn’s workers into solidarity. When talking of, or participating in, political action, a communal ‘you’ voice operates, expressing the ‘general truths’ of working-class experience at that particular time. Even before Ewan’s political agitation gets underway, we are given to know that empathy with the Labour movement gives cohesion to individual workers’ experiences. We are told: ‘somehow when a chap knew another had a father who’d been Labour you could speak to him plainer, like, say what you thought’ (GG, p. 48). When Jim Trease is recruiting for the hunger march, it is the sight of the names of friends and acquaintances that motivates men to sign up: ‘you saw Will’s there and Geordie’s and Ian’s and even old Malcolm’s—Christ, you could go if they were going’ (GG, p. 198). The communal ‘you’ voice also appears during the initial march to the Provost’s house. The singing of the broo men, we are told, ‘gave a swing to your feet and you felt all kittled up and high’ (GG, 54). The voices states: ‘[t]hey couldn’t deny you, you and the rest of the Broo folk here, the right to lay bare your grievances’ (GG, p. 54). Of course, the broo men cannot become a tangible social reality to the more economically successful inhabitants of Duncairn, and the marchers are denied this right. However, there is a sense in which the working class inhabitants of Duncairn remain a cohesive community even in failure. They, too, assert their own identity within their own parishes of the town, and define themselves in opposition to those who oppress them. When pepper is thrown in the face of Policemen at the gates of Gowans and Gloag’s, the arrival of the Daily Runner in working class areas produces ‘a growl of laughing and cursing’ (GG, p. 124) rather than the social outrage felt in Craigneuks. Even the broo men, who could potentially poach jobs at Gowans and Gloag’s during the strike, resolve not to do so and to remain in solidarity with those of their own class. We are told that they ‘gave a bit rub at their hunger-swollen bellies—ah well, they must try the PAC again’ (GG, p. 124). Within the working-class parishes of Duncairn, political agitation provides a communal voice as well as a carnival atmosphere generating a feeling of both escapism and hope. The inaction of the unemployed men is converted into action. As the workers’ communal voice states at one stage: ‘Communionists like Big Jim might blether damned stite but they tried to win you your rights for you’ (GG, p.55). Communist politics might be viewed as ‘damned stite’ but they are nonetheless symbolically unifying. Politics lends a voice to the workers that can be heard across Duncairn, asserting its own existence.

In Irvine Welsh’s working-class vision, no such political motivations exist. Furthermore, no unifying ideas or ideologies are exercised. In Welsh’s fictionalised Edinburgh, the only ‘generally acknowledged truth’ is that violence holds currency in the social sphere. Early in his life, Roy Strang works out a simple formula: ‘if you hurt them, they don’t laugh’ (MS, p. 35). Within Strang’s scheme, power and violence are synonyms. Following an attack on a female classmate, Roy realises ‘[t]hat was it wi the power [...] you just had to take it. When you took it, you had to hold onto it. That was all there was to it’ (MS, p. 106). Social status in Welsh’s vision of working-class Edinburgh runs along very simple lines: the more physically violent you are, the more respect is accorded you. In Welsh’s infamous 1993 novel Trainspotting 7, Renton sums up this equation as he accompanies the sociopathic Begbie to the house of an acquaintance. He says: ‘[s]trutting doon the Walk wi Begbie makes us feel like a predator, rather than a victim, and ah start looking fir cunts tae gie the eye tae’ (TS, p. 308). In the company of Begbie, Renton gains status by association. Renton’s social sphere is divided up simply into those classified as ‘predators’ and ‘victims’. No class solidarity exists: every individual must affirm his own status as ‘predator’ at all costs, lest their public image be reduced to that of ‘victim’, with obvious consequences. The only form of politics that does exist in Welsh’s urban vision is that of the soundbite. Roy joins a group of football casuals and, as his group violently assaults visiting Glaswegian supporters, he recalls Winston Churchill’s statement that ‘the Germans were either at your feet or at your throat’. This quote is ridiculously reinterpreted to apply to those whom he opposes. Regarding his opponents, he says: ‘back doon tae they cunts and they’re fuckin swarming all over ye’ (MS, p. 172, italics removed). Churchill’s sentiment is applied to an inappropriate context, yet acts as a form of self-justification for Strang. It amounts to a temporary ideological position regarding those whom he opposes. His own violent reputation is affirmed, and his actions are justified in his own mind.

Ironically, though, Roy does realise at one stage that he is contributing to the fragmentation of his own community through violence and other illegal activities. He realises that he should be in solidarity with his own class, and in opposition to the contemporary equivalent of Duncairn’s moneyed classes. Regarding the managers in his workplace, he says: ‘it’s these cunts we should be hurtin, no the boys we knock fuck oot ay at the fitba, no the birds we fuck aboot, no oor ain Ma n Da, oor ain brothers and sisters, oor ain neighbours, oor ain mates’ (MS, p. 200–01). Strang briefly recognises that all his aggression is exercised upon his own class. Welsh’s commitment to the depiction of the working-classes in Edinburgh is such, though, that he largely excludes voices from outwith that sphere. Just as the working-classes remain largely out of sight, out of mind, to the inhabitants of Gibbon’s Craigneuks, it is the middle-classes that remain invisible to Welsh’s working-class protagonists. Speaking again of his employers, Strang states: ‘it’s like ahm jist invisible tae thaim n they are tae me’. He continues: ‘these cunts wi dinnae even fuckin see. Even when they’re aw aroond us’ (MS, p. 200–01). Welsh effectively maroons his characters in their own urban sphere: their own invisibility on the economic margins of the city is counter-defined by their blindness to those who are economically prosperous and geographically removed. Arguably, this blindness contributes to the atomisation and lack of solidarity within their urban space. If a more prosperous life cannot be seen, it is hard to aspire to that life or, alternatively, to mobilise oneself against those who live it at your expense. Rather than solidarity and political campaigning to attain a better life, Welsh’s protagonists seek to escape from their lives altogether. The euphoric experiences obtained through the use of drugs appear again and again in Welsh’s depiction of working-class Edinburgh. Even Roy’s violence at football matches is defined in terms of a ‘swedge buzz’: the euphoric experience that he gains owing to an adrenaline high during the act of violence. In Trainspotting, Swanney’s cocktail of drugs is described as ‘his ticket to better times’ and ‘that wee private heaven the uninitiated pour scorn on’ (TS, p. 321, my italics). This commitment to a private heaven bears no desire for solidarity. Nowhere in Welsh’s fiction is there a ‘you’ voice, the voice of a community or a parish. Indeed, the number of first-person narratives contained within Trainspotting alone bespeaks a location in which the self is preserved and valued above all else. In Welsh’s novella ‘A Smart Cunt’ 8, Brian ponders what he can do to aid ‘the emancipation of working people in this country’. He says: ‘the answer is a resounding fuck all’. In preference to political thinking, he decides: ‘I think I’ll stick to drugs to get me though the long, dark night of late capitalism’ (AH, p. 240).

It must be noted here, though, that the political ideas that aid solidarity and cohesion within the working-class parishes of Duncairn are not un-problematic. This is because, in Grey Granite, the political life of the working-classes is only interesting to Gibbon insofar as it shows the progression of Ewan’s obsessive ideals. During Ewan’s Socialist phase, his Young League has the aim of persuading the workers ‘of whatever party to join together and stop the old squabbles and grab life’s share with their thousand hands’ (GG, p. 106). In his speech following the tanner hop, Ewan describes the rights that he feels the workers are denied. He says: ‘every one should have a decent life and time for dancing and enjoying oneself, and a decent house to go to at night, decent food, decent beds’ (GG, p. 106). The support of the workers is gained, not only through rhetoric, but through entirely practical issues that affect every member of Duncairn’s working-class. However, as Ewan’s Communist philosophies develop, the political action he encourages has less to do with Duncairn’s oppressed than it has to do with his own personal philosophies and commitments. The workers at Gowans and Gloag’s engineer a strike, not for decent housing and decent food, but to be in solidarity with Chinese workers who are assumed to be the potential victims of the shell cases and gas canisters that Gowans has put into production. When the strike is over, however, the Gowans and Gloag’s communal ‘you’ voice expresses the following opinion: ‘if the Chinks and the Japs wanted to poison one the other, why shouldn’t they?—they were coarse little brutes, anyhow, like that Dr Fu Manchu on the films’ (GG, p. 177). For the workers of Duncairn, the strike may have heightened class solidarity within their own communities, but it has done them little good personally. They have picketed Gloag’s pointlessly for an ideology that is quickly disregarded. Soon enough, too, they are working alongside poisonous gas themselves, and there is no word of any agitation from Ewan on this subject until the plant explodes with loss of life. At this point, Ewan effectively betrays his fellow workers by using the incident as propaganda to further his own Communist beliefs. He suggests that ‘[it] had all been deliberately planned to see the effect of poison gas on a crowd’ (GG, p.187). In a counter-attack, the gentry-friendly Daily Runner subtly suggests that Communist terrorism may have been to blame for the explosion: ‘hadn’t there been similar occurrences abroad inspired by the Asiatic party of terrorism?’ (GG, p. 195). In this war of propaganda, the only losers appear to be the workers of Duncairn. Rather than workers’ rights, Ewan is now far more concerned with the coming of the Communist state: it is ‘a great black wave’ that will succeed by ‘swamping the high places with mud and blood’ (GG, p. 181). Ewan’s ambition to ‘be history’, ‘LIVING HISTORY ONE-SELF’ is surely an idealistic and personal ambition rather than a specific commitment to the workers of Footforthie. Furthermore, Ewan and Jim Trease are agreed that ‘there wasn’t much time for the usual family business when you were a revolutionist’ (GG, p. 180). Ewan’s ideals get further away from the everyday lives of the working-class people of Duncairn. Ewan and Trease are so engrossed in their own idea of what it is to be a worker that they are convinced that ‘THEY THEMSELVES WERE THE WORKERS’ (GG, p. 181); yet they share no common problems with those that they purport to symbolise. Their idea of the identity of the workers is filtered through Communism. Just as the inhabitants of Craigneuks share a communal idea of the workers, so too do Ewan and Trease share a different idea of the same class. As Jim Trease says: ‘it’s me and you are the working-class, not the poor Bulgars gone back to Gowans’ (GG, p. 147, italics removed). This statement is obviously ridiculous. Just as the gentry feel that the working class need to be guided and ruled on their terms, so too do Ewan and Trease have ideas of the workers and the way they must be led to emancipation. Neither the idea of the workers held by those in Craigneuks, nor the idea of the workers held by the idealistic Ewan, does anything but damage and betray the class that they purport to represent. Although the workers of Duncairn are given a chance to sound a public voice across Duncairn, to assert their existence in the face of bourgeois ignorance, they are not in control of the voice that is sounded. They remain an oppressed ‘problem population’, both in the eyes of the economically-successful Craigneuks gentry; and in the eyes of political idealists, who would harness the workers for their own ends.

Earlier, I described Duncairn as a city of ideas. If this is the case, then Irvine Welsh’s fictionalised Edinburgh is a city that is completely devoid of ideas but for those that encourage personal gain. In Trainspotting, Renton criticises Capitalism’s ‘materialism and commodity fetishism’ (TS, p. 343). He rejects what Capitalism has to offer in his, now infamous, ‘choose life’ speech: ‘[c]hoose life. Choose mortgage payments; choose washing machines; choose cars; choose sitting oan a couch watching mind-numbing and spirit-crushing game shows, stuffing fuckin junk food intae yir mooth’ [etc., etc.] (TS, p. 187). Welsh’s protagonists are entirely aware of the capitalist system that oppresses them. During one of his coma-dreams, Roy Strang holds a conversation with Dawson, in which he argues about the effects of Capitalism upon the working classes. Dawson points out that, in previous eras, there existed within communities, ‘a shared understanding with the world’ (MS, p. 45). This has been replaced, he argues, with ‘empathy with the profit system’, in which advertising and commodities motivate the individual to gain wealth and possessions at the expense of the greater good of the community. Ironically, though, Welsh’s protagonists have such ‘empathy with the profit system’ that they directly mimic the system that they purport to reject. They buy and sell drugs—commodities—that are no different from any other commodity but for their illegality. They are entirely guilty of the ‘commodity fetishism’ that Renton so vehemently rejects. Even Pete Gilbert, the big-time drug dealer that the Trainspotters meet in London, has his activities described as follows: ‘[h]e’d buy and sell anything. For him, it was strictly business, and he refused to differentiate it from any other entrepreneurial activity’ (TS, p. 339). The system that oppresses Welsh’s protagonists, characterising them by their economic unproductivity, confining them to their housing schemes on the periphery of a mercantile city, is the very system that Welsh’s protagonists mimic for want of a better ideology. Welsh’s protagonists essentially accept that no better equivalent to rampant capitalism exists. The profit system dictates that a ‘private heaven’, such as the one Swanney achieves with his cocktail of drugs, can be purchased if one has enough money to do so. A ‘private heaven’ is preferable to communal oppression. Life can be escaped from via the back door, and the future—the very thing that Ewan Tavendale must rely on—can be denied until the next fix is required.

Thomas Crawford describes Grey Granite as ‘a method of thinking about contemporary morals and politics in aesthetic terms’ (GG, p. xv, italics removed), where each stratified viewpoint and voice represents a part of the social equation that made up Gibbon’s view of a Scottish city. If this is the case, Welsh’s protagonists are a means of describing that communal ideas and morals are dead, that rampant individualism, expressed through the purchase of commodities, is the only communal ethic left in play; and, furthermore, that this communal ethic must be expressed in isolation: a ‘private heaven’ that can not be shared. A private heaven requires a private voice, and Welsh’s fictionalised Muirhouse sounds no communal voice to prove its own existence. While Duncairn’s ‘keelies’ are mis-represented by the politics of their time, their social cohesion—their ‘you voice’—at least remains true to their communal experience while they actively search for a representative voice. Welsh’s disparate voices bear no hope, and no desire, for class emancipation.

1 Lewis Grassic Gibbon, Grey Granite, ed. by Thomas Crawford (Edinburgh: Canongate, 1990 [1934]). All future references to this text will be cited as follows: (GG, Page).
2 Jürgen Neubauer, Literature as Intervention: Struggles over Cultural Identity in Contemporary Scottish Fiction (Marburg: Tectum Verlag, 1999), p. 97.
3 Ian S. Munro, Leslie Mitchell: Lewis Grassic Gibbon (Edinburgh: Oliver and Boyd Ltd., 1966), p. 176.
4 Ian Campbell has argued that Gibbon’s Duncairn is, in fact, a fictionalised version of Aberdeen. See Ian Campbell, ‘Lewis Grassic Gibbon and the Mearns’, in A Sense of Place, ed. by Graeme Cruickshank (Edinburgh: Scotland's Cultural Heritage, 1998).
5 A paraphrase from the article by Graham Trengrove in Scottish Literary Journal, Vol. 2, No. 2 (December 1975), p. 47–62. Trengrove points to the use of a stylistic community ‘you’ voice in Sunset Song as a device for ‘powerfully suggesting a homogenous body of opinion in Kinraddie’ (p. 49).
6 Irvine Welsh, Marabou Stork Nightmares (London: Jonathan Cape, 1995). All future references to this text will be cited as follows: (MS, Page).
7 Irvine Welsh, Trainspotting (London: Minerva, 1994 [1993]). All future references to this text will be cited as follows: (TS, Page).
8 From the collection The Acid House (London: Vintage, 1995 [1994]), p. 177–289.


Primary Sources

Lewis Grassic Gibbon, Grey Granite, ed. by Tom Crawford (Edinburgh: Canongate, 1990 [1934] ).

  • A Scots Quair, ed. by Tom Crawford (Edinburgh: Canongate, 1995).

Irvine Welsh, Trainspotting (London: Minerva, 1994 [1993] ).

  • The Acid House (London: Vintage, 1995 [1994] ).

  • Marabou Stork Nightmares (London: Jonathan Cape, 1995).

Secondary Sources

Angus Calder, ‘A Mania for Self Reliance: Grassic Gibbon’s Scots Quair’, in The Uses of Fiction: Essays on the Novel in Honour of Arnold Kettle, ed. by Douglas Jefferson and Graham Martin (Milton Keynes: Open University Press, 1982), pp. 99–115.

Ian Campbell, ‘Lewis Grassic Gibbon and the Mearns’, in A Sense of Place, ed. by Graeme Cruickshank (Edinburgh: Scotland's Cultural Heritage, 1998).

William K. Malcolm, A Blasphemer and Reformer: A Study of James Leslie Mitchell/Lewis Grassic Gibbon (Aberdeen: Aberdeen University Press, 1984), pp. 151–185.

Manfred Malzahn, ‘The Industrial Novel’, in The History of Scottish Literature, Vol, 4: The Twentieth Century, ed. by Cairns Craig (Aberdeen: Aberdeen University Press, 1987), pp. 229–243.

Ian S. Munro, Leslie Mitchell: Lewis Grassic Gibbon (Edinburgh: Oliver and Boyd Ltd., 1966), p. 172–85.

Isobel Murray, ‘Action and Narrative Stance in A Scots Quair’, in Literature of the North, ed. by David Hewitt and Michael Spiller (Aberdeen: Aberdeen University Press, 1983), pp. 109–121.

Jürgen Neubauer, Literature as Intervention: Struggles over Cultural Identity in Contemporary Scottish Fiction (Marburg: Tectum Verlag, 1999).

Graham Trengrove, ‘Who Is You? Grammar and Grassic Gibbon’, in Scottish Literary Journal, Vol. 2, No. 2 (December 1975), pp. 47–62.

Douglas F. Young, Beyond the Sunset (Aberdeen: Impulse, 1973), pp. 119–134.


Copyright © David Borthwick 2001


Last updated 23 August 2010.