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James Kelman is Scotland's most influential contemporary prose artist. This is a book-length study of his groundbreaking novels, analysing and contextualising each in detail. It argues that while Kelman offers a coherent and consistent vision of the world, each novel should be read as a distinct literary response to particular aspects of contemporary working-class language and culture. Historicised through diverse contexts such as Scottish socialism, public transport, emigration, ‘Booker Prize’ culture and Glasgow's controversial ‘City of Culture’ status in 1990, the book offers readings of Kelman's style, characterisation and linguistic innovations. This study resists the prevalent condemnations of Kelman as a miserable realist, and produces evidence that he is acutely aware of an unorthodox, politicised literary tradition which transgresses definitions of what literature can or should do. Kelman is cautious about the power relationship between the working-class worlds he represents in his fiction, and the latent preconceptions embedded in the language of academic and critical commentary. In response, the study is self-critical, questioning the validity and values of its own methods. Kelman is shown to be deftly humorous, assiduously ethical, philosophically alert and politically necessary.

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Robert H. MacDonald

the imperial programme, I have not looked at any texts that articulated working-class language. 15 It is tempting here to again speculate about the role of sport, which itself might be read as a text in increasing dispute in the early twentieth century, produced first by and for the amateur, taken over and adapted by the professional. Sport elicited competing discourses, and many middle-class pundits

in The language of empire
Tom Woodin

deprivation’ and the ideas of Basil Bernstein at the Institute of Education that were seen as ascribing a deficient or ‘restricted’ language to working-class children.34 In contrast, educationists such as Harold Rosen, author of the pamphlet Language and Class, contended that working-class language and speech should be seen as relevant in its own right. For example, Valerie Avery had written her autobiographical book, London Morning, as one of Rosen’s fifth-form students at Walworth School in London. Rosen, who gained a persuasive voice on the left, reasoned that English

in Working-class writing and publishing in the late twentieth century
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More writing than welding
Tom Woodin

given to working-class writing.56 He also drew inspiration from his experiences and his surroundings as well as the subtleties of working-class language. For instance, he wrote a story that helped launch his career after his wife noticed a woman across the street confined to a wheelchair. Her husband, who had to care for her full time, had a heart attack … his wife stopped eating in an attempt to lose weight and reduce the burden on her husband. Terrifying and noble … I wrote it as two monologues. Not quite drama but not a short story either.57 McGovern followed the

in Working-class writing and publishing in the late twentieth century
Contemporary Irish and Scottish fiction
Glenda Norquay
and
Gerry Smyth

of working-class subjects in their natural environment, with a large number of swear-words added to provide extra frisson for the encoded middle-class reader. There is a lack of sentimentality in The Commitments, however, a certain edginess of tone that was to evolve in Doyle’s subsequent fiction into a desire to explore the dark corners of Barrytown, and to expose the emotional depths of a supposedly ‘comic’ working-class language. Like Doyle, Welsh writes with a hyper-awareness of the ideological implications of novelistic discourse, a condition that can lead the

in Across the margins
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Author:

At a time when monolingualist claims for the importance of ‘speaking English’ to the national order continue louder than ever, even as language diversity is increasingly part of contemporary British life, literature becomes a space to consider the terms of linguistic belonging. Bad English examines writers including Tom Leonard, James Kelman, Suhayl Saadi, Raman Mundair, Daljit Nagra, Xiaolu Guo, Leila Aboulela, Brian Chikwava, and Caroline Bergvall, who engage multilingually, experimentally, playfully, and ambivalently with English’s power. Considering their invented vernaculars and mixed idioms, their dramatised scenes of languaging – languages learned or lost, acts of translation, scenes of speaking, the exposure and racialised visibility of accent – it argues for a growing field of contemporary literature in Britain pre-eminently concerned with language’s power dynamics, its aesthetic potentialities, and its prosthetic strangeness. Drawing on insights from applied linguistics and translation studies as well as literary scholarship, Bad English explores contemporary arguments about language in Britain – in debates about citizenship or education, in the media or on Twitter, in Home Office policy and asylum legislation – as well as the ways they are taken up in literature. It uncovers both an antagonistic and a productive interplay between language politics and literary form, tracing writers’ articulation of linguistic alienation and ambivalence, as well as the productivity and making-new of radical language practices. Doing so, it refutes the view that language difference and language politics are somehow irrelevant to contemporary Britain and instead argues for their constitutive centrality to the work of novelists and poets whose inside/outside relationship to English in its institutionalised forms is the generative force of their writing.

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Anna Green
and
Kathleen Troup

language to examine, for example, the role of femininity and masculinity in working-class language in the nineteenth century, and to show that women could not speak within the terms of radical popular speech. This, in turn, helped her to offer a coherent explanation of the background to the emergence of nineteenth-century feminism. Alexander has discussed the features in common between psychoanalysis and feminism, especially feminist history, such as the ‘concept of the unconscious’ and the ‘unspoken histories of women’s lives’. 30 More recently, Michael Roper has

in The houses of history
Rachael Gilmour

today; one sees what forces are behind the vehemence with which a child will be told to alter his or her language when addressing a superior’.64 Undeniably, the history of slavery here is being used as an instrument by which to heighten white Scottish working-class language-political consciousness. But, at the same time, what Leonard identifies in lan- GILMOUR 9781526108845 PRINT.indd 54 11/06/2020 11:00 Thi langwij a thi guhtr55 guage is a means to excavate a connected history by more than analogy: the history of what Carla Sassi calls ‘an invisible transatlantic

in Bad English
Penny Summerfield
and
Corinna Peniston-Bird

the use of working-class language through her Theatre Workshop, based from 1953 in east London: John Ezard and Michael Billington, ‘Joan Littlewood: Obituary’, Guardian, 23 September 2002. Webber, Dad’s Army, p. 11. These included the film I Only Arsked (1958) and two more television series, Bootsie and Snudge (1960–63) and Foreign Affairs (1964); The Army Game was also said to have influenced the Carry On … films of the 1950s and 1960s. See www.phill.co.uk/comedy/armygame (accessed 10 October 2003); ITV may have been inspired to sponsor The Army Game in part because

in Contesting home defence
Abstract only
Ben Jones

86 87 88 89 90 91 92 93 94 The working class in mid-twentieth-century England Class: Film, Television and the Working Class in Britain (London: Rivers Oram, 2001). F. Engels, The Condition of the Working Class In England (London: Lawrence & Wishart, 1973) (originally published in Germany in 1845) casts a long shadow, as do E. P. Thompson’s The Making of the English Working Class (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1968) and G. Stedman Jones’s ‘Working class culture and working class politics in London, 1870–1900: notes on the remaking of a working class’, Languages of Class

in The working class in mid-twentieth-century England