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Journal ArticleDOI

Generic multiplicity in Alasdair Gray's Lanark: a life in 4 books

30 Nov 2002-Iss: 15, pp 109-122

AbstractThis paper begins by acknowledging the ontological multiplicity which characterises the fictional world(s) of Lanark: A Life in 4 Books, and suggests the need to complement this reading by looking into its generic multiplicity. In doing so, my analysis initially focuses on the opposition between the realistic and fantastic narratives, and the revitalising effect that such a relationship brings about; then it looks into how the novel blurs the frontiers between dystopian and utopian writing as well as between fantasy and science fiction, and contends that such a melange is an effective way of providing a panoramic view of contemporary Western society; finally, my analysis pays special attention to the Epilogue, which adds a metafictional dimension to the novel, and comments on the different interpretations that may be given to this display of narrative experimentation.

Topics: Dystopia (51%), Fictional universe (50%) more

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Journal ArticleDOI
Abstract: Alasdair Gray’s novel Lanark: A Life in Four Books (1981) eludes generic categorization by crossing the boundaries between dystopian fiction, fantasy novel, life writing, and fiction marked by magic realism. In postmodern fashion, it plays with spatiotemporal frameworks and narrative order, shifts narrative voices, and perspectives and uses a multiplicity of presentational modes including dialogue and scholarly text commentary with encyclopedic annotations. In its “Epilogue,” the novel features metalepsis when it introduces the author, who talks to his protagonist about his work. The question arises how the novel’s radio play adaptation, first broadcast by the BBC on 1 November 2014, translates this playfulness into its own semiotic system. This paper particularly focuses on the narratological category of “voice” and explores what happens when narrators’ and characters’ voices are actualized in radio drama, how the radio play uses voice-over narration, voice qualities and the doubling of parts to create a recognizable as well as surprising aural storyworld. It also analyzes how sound techniques and music are employed to create narrative structures. Because of their medial instantaneousness and evanescence, radio plays arguably have to rely on disambiguation to make themselves accessible to a listening audience. However, as this paper shows, they also have a range of radiophonic techniques at their disposal to create narrativity on their own terms.

4 citations

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01 Jan 1989
Abstract: General editor's preface. Acknowledgements. 1. Representing the postmodern: What is postmodernism? Representation and its politics, Whose postmodernism? Postmodernity, postmodernism, and modernism. 2. Postmodernist representation: De-naturalizing the natural, Photographic discourse, Telling Stories: fiction and history. 3. Re-presenting the past: 'Total history' de-totalized, Knowing the past in the present, The archive as text. 4. The politics of parody: Parodic postmodern representation, Double-coded politics, Postmodern film? 5. Text/image border tensions: The paradoxes of photography, The ideological arena of photo-graphy, The politics of address 6. Postmodernism and feminisms: Politicizing desire, Feminist postmodernist parody, The private and the public. Concluding note: some directed reading. Bibliography. Index.

1,142 citations

01 Jan 1994

13 citations

"Generic multiplicity in Alasdair Gr..." refers background in this paper

  • ...…or of Unthank [...] our notions of what is real, what fantastic, what first, what last, are thus displaced, at the same time as being confused" (Manlove 1994:207)- it also raises similar questions as to the tradition in which the novel is to be inserted, as well as about the difficulties of…...