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Talking Back at the Centre: Demotic Language in Contemporary Scottish Fiction

Scott, Jeremy (2005) Talking Back at the Centre: Demotic Language in Contemporary Scottish Fiction. Literature Compass, 2 (1). pp. 1-26. ISSN 1741-4113. (doi:10.1111/j.1741-4113.2005.00148.x) (KAR id:3262)

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This article attempts a survey of a common trend in contemporary Scottish fiction(1994–2003): a unifying concern with issues of ‘voice’ in narrative. The survey

out of ideological standpoints peculiar (arguably) to Scotland: attempts to create a distance from Standard English, a nationalist position, or the ambition to reassert

ideological choices, and that the demotic method is not without its pitfalls. This assertion is demonstrated through an exploration of three writers: James Kelman, Alan Warner and Anne Donovan. All of these demotic techniques are aided and abetted by the writer’s intense identification with place, with Glasgow (for Kelman and Donovan) or with Scotland as a whole, and the intrinsically ‘polyphonic’

and linguistic conditions peculiar to the country in order to produce a narrative art form which could adequately aspire to represent them; in other words, to create a

and repetitive in demotic narratives, a certain belligerence which can alienate readers and the essential question of who this writing is written for. Can it be read with

true engagement outside of its target constituency? If not, is such writing open to the charge of parochialism?

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1111/j.1741-4113.2005.00148.x
Uncontrolled keywords: Literature, Language, Narratology, Postcolonial, Fictional technique, Dialect, Contemporary British Fiction
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PE English philology and language
P Language and Literature > PR English literature
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Arts and Humanities > School of European Culture and Languages
Depositing User: Jeremy Scott
Date Deposited: 18 Jun 2008 16:34 UTC
Last Modified: 11 Feb 2020 04:00 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
Scott, Jeremy:
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