(Scottish) Critic Fodder: On Why Alasdair Gray's Lanark Isn't a Nationationalit or a Postmodernist Text, Mostly

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article examines the construction of Alasdair Gray as a nationalist and postmodernist writer. It argues that although the formal innovations Gray makes in Lanark are redolent of the postmodern style, his work also has important affiliations with a socialist humanist conception of art and subjectivity. The article then traces the links between postmodernism and the Scottish nationalist project which seeks to construct a canon of Scottish literature as part of a wider move towards Scottish independence. I argue that in fact the representation of nationalism in Lanark is highly ambivalent and that to read it as unproblematically a nationalist text is to ignore many of the subtleties of Gray’s representation of the complex and often damaging intertwining of the desire for power and the creative subject.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)75-89
Number of pages15
JournalForum for Modern Language Studies
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 10 Jan 2019


  • Alasdair Gray
  • Postmodernism
  • Scotland
  • Nationalism

Cite this