Gray, Alasdair. (b. 1934).
W o r k
- a Scottish novelist, short story writer, painter, illustrator, non-fiction writer, dramatist, and screenwright
- often combines his diverse artistic talents within single works: composes paintings with words and letters, punctuates novels with paintings
- preoccupied with his native Glasgow, examines Scottish identity, but at the same time enlarges his scope to encompass universal problems
- a postmodern epic: fragmented yet all-compassing, mingling word and design, and blending the seemingly incompatible literary genres of satire x tragedy, realism x fantasy, etc.
- alternates a realistic narrative of the young artist Duncan Thaw in Glasgow x a dystopian fantasy of Lanark, an adult version of Thaw, in the city of Unthank
1982, Janine (1984):
- his most controversial novel: in subject an exploitation of pornographic fantasy, in form an explosive experiment in style, layout, and typography
Poor Things (1992):
- a novelistic excursus from his usual subject-matter of Glasgow reality and fantasy to the Victorian period
- centres on a female protagonist and deals with social inequalities, relationships, memory, and identity
- takes Mary Shelley's Frankenstein as a starting point x but: does not imitate, rather writes back to it
The Book of Prefaces (2000):
- non-fiction, a literary history "Edited and Glossed" by Gray
- covers the development of literature from 7th to 20th century in England, Ireland, Scotland, and the US
- serious in subject x but: playful in form, with Gray's characteristically idiosyncratic illustrations, design, and typography
(Photo: Scots Independent).
AuthorAlasdair Gray. (b. 1934). Scottish.
WorkNovelist. Short story writer. Painter. Illustrator. Non-fiction writer. Author of Lanark (1981).
GenresPostmodernism. Dystopia. Magic realism. Surrealism. Political and social novel.
"'Glasgow is a magnificent city,' said McAlpin. 'Why do we hardly ever notice that?' 'Because nobody imagines living here,' said Thaw."
From Lanark (1981).