The singin lass : a reflection on the life of the poet Marion Angus (1865-1946) in the form of an account of her life and work, and three extracts from 'Blackthorn', a novel
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Part 1 of this thesis comprises a biography which, for the first time, places Marion Angus within her historical, family and social context. A version of this was published as the introduction to my edited collection The Singin Lass: Selected Work of Marion Angus (Polygon, 2006). Assumptions made about the poet's activities and attitudes derive from critical reading of archival material: her published 'diaries', letters and prose, as well as her poetry. The appraisal of her work places it within literary contexts. The development of her linguistic awareness of the Scots language is traced and the extent of her commitment to it noted. I conclude that assessment of her work has frequently been affected by erroneous judgements about her lifestyle and that the poetry, which has greater depth than it sometimes is given credit for, illuminates her struggle rather than defines her character. Her strength and resilience, as well as her contribution to Scots literature, should be respected and admired. Part II comprises three extracts from Blackthorn, a novel based on aspects of the life and work of Marion Angus. My starting point was the marked contrast between her earlier prose and her later poetry. This, I believe, reflects an actual family crisis which is central to my narrative. The extracts presented here (dated 1900, 1930 and 1945-46) present a credible alternative to inaccurate assumptions which were made about her life. I explore two actual significant relationships in her life: with a sister who becomes wholly dependent on her, and with a younger friend who looks after her in her final year. In the absence of any firm evidence of lovers, I speculate on other relationships.
Thesis, PhD Doctor of Philosophy
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