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Neil Gunn

(1891—1973) novelist


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(1891–1973),

Scottish novelist, short‐story writer, and playwright, born and brought up in Caithness. Several of his plays contemplate Highland life in decline, including his first novel, The Grey Coast (1926), but Morning Tide (1931) introduces more Gunnian characteristics: a sensuous lyricism, remarkable evocations of childhood and of the sea, and a hardwon confidence in humankind. Two historical novels followed: Sun Circle (1933), about a Viking invasion, and Butcher's Broom (1934), a powerful testament to the Highland Clearances. The modernist Highland River (1937) maps the life of its hero onto his experience of the river of his childhood. The Silver Darlings (1941) is set in Caithness immediately after the Napoleonic wars, synthesising folk song, historical detail, psychological observation, and symphonic recurrences of almost supernatural experiences. His other novels include Young Art and Old Hector (1942), The Green Isle of the Great Deep (1944), The Silver Bough (1948), and The Well at the World's End (1951). The thriller Bloodhunt (1952) and the metaphysical The Other Landscape (1954) envisage rehabilitation after violence. The Atom of Delight (1956), Gunn's last book, analyses incidents in the first two decades of his life.

Subjects: Literature.


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