Kennedy and Boyd

Nancy Brysson Morrison: A Literary Life
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By Seenan, Mary
ISBN 1849211221
Paperback  706 pages
Published 29 March 2013
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Born in 1903, Nancy Brysson Morrison lived through most of the twentieth century. Beginning with her childhood in Edwardian Glasgow, this biography demonstrates how the social, economic, political, and cultural changes she experienced are reflected in her writing, and in the career path she followed. Although now remembered principally for her early novel, The Gowk Storm, Morrison's literary career extended from 1930 to the 1970s. Her diverse output included novels, works on religious themes, historical biographies, short stories, miscellaneous magazine and newspaper articles, as well as material for talks and radio broadcasts. To provide financial security she also produced light romantic fiction under the pseudonym Christine Strathern. During the inter-war period she was regarded as one of Scotland's most promising young writers. In 1937 Edwin Muir opined, 'In mere poetic power she probably excels any other Scottish novelist writing today.' However, as a later commentator observed, she was a 'tough-minded poet', for her writing eschews sentimentality and is outspokenly critical of previously valued social and cultural institutions. Morrison's work evinces a modernist interest in the portrayal of psychological interiority and a wholehearted engagement with the cultural aims of the Scottish literary renaissance. She was a contemporary of Gunn and Grassic Gibbon but, unlike theirs, her name has drifted into obscurity.

The product of much original research, Mary Seenan's literary biography offers the first extended critique of Morrison's complete oeuvre, and argues convincingly that her contribution to Scottish literary history should now be recognised.

After graduating from Glasgow University, Mary Seenan initially worked as a research chemist at ICI. Later, she studied History and English Literature at the Open University, then spent some years lecturing, before returning to Glasgow University where, in 2000, she successfully completed her PhD. Now retired, she lives in Ayrshire.

Mary has contributed Introductions to two Nancy Brysson Morrison titles in the series Twentieth Century Scottish Womens Fiction,

The Hidden Fairing


Nancy Bysson Morrison's Mary Queen of Scots is reprinted with a new Introduction by Sarah Dunnigan in the series Scottish Life Writing

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