'It’s no real pleasure in life' : the grotesque in Southern Gothic and beyond

Rights statement
Awarding institution
  • University of Strathclyde
Date of award
  • 2021
Thesis identifier
  • T15901
Person Identifier (Local)
  • 201756464
Qualification Level
Qualification Name
Department, School or Faculty
  • This PhD thesis is comprised of a collection of linked short stories 'whose characterisation and themes situation it in a modern gothic tradition that spans the anglosphere, particularly American Southern Gothic literature, and an accompanying critical reflection on the writing process and associated works. The short story cycle focuses on the blighted town of Shawkirk, a fictional area in the West of Scotland marked by woods, moorland and decay. A discovery in an abandoned church sets a ripple of unease throughout the townsfolk, and impacts their lives to varying degrees, from the mildest of rumours to the explosion of animalistic savagery. Above the escalating Gothic drama, the church sits waiting in a harsh natural landscape, a totem of the ugly past that claws into the present. The critical reflection examines the composition of the short story cycle, and the implications of taking inspiration from the Southern and other Gothic traditions – adaptation of cultural and historical context, the personal relationship to the Scottish conception of Gothic, and examinations of similar literary exchanges and evolutions in writing and folk tradition.
Advisor / supervisor
  • Colin, Beatrice
  • Jajdelska, Elspeth
  • MacNeill, Kevin
Resource Type
Date Created
  • 2020