Lanark: A Life in Four Books (Canongate Classics)

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Lanark: A Life in Four Books (Canongate Classics)

Lanark: A Life in Four Books (Canongate Classics)

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a b c Gray, Alasdair (17 November 2012). "Alasdair Gray explains how his love of fable never left him as he grew up". The Scotsman . Retrieved 6 January 2020. Visit & Learn > Explore Parliament > About The Building > Parliamentary Buildings > Canongate Buildings > Canongate Wall > quotations". Scottish Parliament . Retrieved 5 November 2020.

According to some, the most serious impediment to explaining the world isn’t the absence of a unified physical theory or the inadequacy of human language. It is the presence of what can only be called a pervasive evil. Evil is an irrationality, an inherent contradiction, which clearly exists - in nature everywhere and especially in people - but which defies explanation. Yet consciousness demands one. How can such an absurd universe produce beings who question its very absurdity? Currie, Brian; Settle, Michael (21 April 2010). "LibDems enjoy Clegg bounce in Scotland at expense of SNP". The Herald. Archived from the original on 26 April 2010 . Retrieved 25 October 2010. In 2014–2015 Dallas devised the Alasdair Gray Season, a citywide celebration of Gray's visual work to coincide with his 80th birthday. [29] The main exhibition, Alasdair Gray: From the Personal to the Universal, was held at the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum [30] with over 15,000 attending. [5]The impulse to write as well as draw emerged in childhood. While at art school, he began a novel called Portrait of the Artist as a Young Scot, which contained the seed that grew into Lanark, almost 30 years later. In the 1960s and 70s, he wrote plays for radio, television and the stage, including some which would later be converted into novels. The Fall of Kelvin Walker (1985), his third novel, began life as a TV play in 1968. McGrotty and Ludmilla (1990) and Mavis Belfrage (1996) had similar origins. Some 20 of these plays were later collected in A Gray Play Book (2009). It included The Cave of Polyphemus, written in 1944, when he was nine. Books One and Two constitute a realist Bildungsroman beginning in pre-war Glasgow, and tell the story of Duncan Thaw ("based on myself, he was tougher and more honest"), a difficult and precocious child born to impecunious and frustrated parents in the East End of Glasgow. The book follows Thaw's wartime evacuation, secondary education and his scholarship to the Glasgow School of Art, where his inability to form relationships with women and his obsessive artistic vision lead to his descent into madness and eventual suicide by drowning. A city imagined at length into being itself. I had fleetingly encountered so-called "magic realism" in translated Spanish, swallowed whole some oddball 19th-century Russians, a few American books that contained depictions of very "ordinary" lives told with grandeur and depth, but nothing of the kind about, well, home. I had barely encountered any of my country's writers at all, let alone one this engaged with the present tense, this bravely alive. Scotland, my schooling had at times implied, at times openly professed, was a small, cold, bitter place that had no political clout, not much cultural heritage, joyless people and writers who were all male and all dead. As modern Scots, we were unfit to offer Art, politics or philosophy to the world, we were fit only for losing at football games. Not so, this book said: on a number of levels, not so. Ferguson, Brian (19 May 2013). "Alasdair Gray puts Mor of us in the picture". The Scotsman . Retrieved 6 January 2020. In my travels, as I walked through many regions and countries, it was my chance to happen into that famous continent of Universe. A very large and spacious continent it is; it lieth between the heavens. It is a place well watered, and richly adorned with hills and valleys, bravely situate, and for the most part, at least where I was, very fruitful, also well peopled, and a very sweet air.”

The two-room exhibition uncovers how Lanark was made and has been selected from the manuscripts and artworks created by Gray throughout the development of the novel that spanned three decades. As far as spiritual theories of the world go this is relatively plausible. Little wonder then that its principle tropes - Light and Freedom - appear periodically in European literature. Lanark is an example. Its characters are obsessed with light, either finding it or avoiding it. Lanark‘s goal is to escape from the realm of artificial light into that of pure ‘heavenly’ light.

He studied at Glasgow School of Art from 1952 to 1957. As well as his book illustrations, he painted portraits and murals, including one at the Òran Mór venue and one at Hillhead subway station. His artwork has been widely exhibited and is in several important collections. Before Lanark, he had plays performed on radio and TV. But now the fantasies were imbecile frivolity, and poetry was whistling in the dark, and novels showed life fighting its own agony, and biographies were accounts of struggles toward violent or senile ends, and history was an infinitely diseased worm without head or tail, beginning or end.” As that plot summary suggests, Lanark is an unwieldy and strange book. It will frustrate you at times, and it’s hardly flawless: Thaw/Lanark is by far the most fully realized character; too many figures in the book seem made of cardboard: manufactured for plot convenience and indistinguishable from their peers. Most importantly, at this point in his career— Lanark, believe it or not, was a first novel—Gray was not a convincing writer of women, though much of his plot concerns Lanark’s relationship with a woman. Finally, the book’s structure, though clever, does rob it of momentum: it seems to go in fits and starts. Stivers, Valerie (2016). "Alasdair Gray, The Art of Fiction No. 232". The Paris Review. No.219 . Retrieved 12 January 2020. Will Self has called him "a creative polymath with an integrated politico-philosophic vision" [63] and "perhaps the greatest living [writer] in this archipelago today". [64] Gray described himself as "a fat, spectacled, balding, increasingly old Glasgow pedestrian". [65] In 2019 he won the inaugural Saltire Society Lifetime Achievement Award for his contribution to Scottish literature. [46] [53] [66]



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