Rewriting the nation
: a comparative study of Welsh and Scottish women's fiction from the wilderness years to post-devolution

  • Rosalyn Mary Marron

    Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


    Since devolution there has been a wealth of stimulating and exciting literary works by Welsh and Scottish women writers, produced as the boundaries of nationality were being dismantled and ideas of nationhood transformed. This comparative study brings together, for the first time, Scottish and Welsh women writers’ literary responses to these historic political and cultural developments. Chapter one situates the thesis in a historical context and discusses some of the connections between Wales and Scotland in terms of their relationship with ‘Britain’ and England. Chapter two focuses on the theoretical context and argues that postcolonial and feminist theories are the most appropriate frameworks in which to understand both Welsh and Scottish women’s writing in English, and their preoccupations with gendered inequalities and language during the pre- and post-devolutionary period. The third chapter examines Welsh and Scottish women’s writing from the first failed referendum (1979) to the second successful one (1997) to provide a sense of progression towards devolution. Since the process of devolution began there has been an important repositioning of Scottish and Welsh people’s perception of their culture and their place within it; the subsequent chapters – four, five, six and seven – analyse a diverse body of work from the symbolic transference of powers in 1999 to 2008. The writers discussed range from established authors such as Stevie Davies to first-time novelists such as Leela Soma. Through close comparative readings focusing on a range of issues such as marginalised identities and the politics of home and belonging, these chapters uncover and assess Welsh and Scottish women writers’ shared literary assertions, strategies and concerns as well as local and national differences. The conclusions drawn from this thesis suggest that, as a consequence of a history of sustained internal and external marginalization, post-devolution Welsh and Scottish women’s writing share important similarities regarding the politics of representation. The authors discussed in this study are resisting writers who textually illustrate the necessity of constantly rewriting national narratives and in so doing enable their audience to read the two nations and their peoples in fresh, innovative and divergent ways.
    Date of Award2012
    Original languageEnglish
    SupervisorDiana Wallace (Supervisor) & Jane Aaron (Supervisor)


    • English fiction
    • Women authors
    • Welsh authors
    • Scottish authors
    • History and criticism

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