Urban landscapes and textual spaces: three portrayals of Glasgow by A.L. Kennedy, Janice Galloway and Jackie Ka


  • Carla Rodriguez Gonzalez


Glasgow, contemporary Scottish fiction, A. L. Kennedy, Janice Galloway, Jackie Kay, space, gender


The aim of this paper is to analyse recent changes in the literary representation of the city of Glasgow. This text revises the most significant approaches to the space in Scottish culture in the twentieth century, from its highly masculinised working-class associations to more contemporary perspectives that negotiate ethnic and gender difference: The Scottish Renaissance of the inter-war period, the “Glasgow Group” of the late 1970s, and finally a younger generation of writers who began their careers in the late 1980s. In order to explore new literary cartographies of the city, this article focuses on the works of three of Scotland’s most recognised writers, A. L. Kennedy, Janice Galloway and Jackie Kay. Firstly, from a Foucauldian perspective, it considers Kennedy’s “The Role of Notable Silences in Scottish History” and its portrayal of Glasgow as a textual space. Secondly, it studies gendered analysis of the city, such as Linda McDowell’s, to interpret Janice Galloway’s The Trick is to Keep Breathing and its incorporation of female subjectivity in the segregation of the urban. Finally, this paper considers the works of Jackie Kay and their negotiation of ethnic and sexual difference in the context.


Burgess, M. 1998. Imagine a City. Glasgow in Fiction. Glendaruel: Argyll Publishing.

Burrowes, J. 2004. Irish. The Remarkable Saga of a Nation and a City. 2nd edition. Edinburgh and London: Mainstream.

Calder, A. 1996: By the Water of Leith I Sat Down and Wept: Reflections on Scottish Identity. In H. Ritchie (ed.) New Scottish Writing. London: Bloomsbury, 218-238.

Carsten, J. and S. Hugh-Jones (eds.). 1995. About the House: Lévi Strauss and Beyond. Cambridge: CUP.

Craig, C. 2001. Constituting Scotland. The Irish Review. Ireland and Scotland: Colonial Legacies and National Identities 28, 1-27.

Forbes, P. (coord.). 1998. The Poetry Quartets: 1. London: The British Council/Bloodaxe.

Foucault, M. 1984. Space, Knowledge and Power. Rabinow P. (ed.) The Foucault Reader. New York: Pantheon, 239-256.

Galloway, J. 1990. The Trick is to Keep Breathing. 2nd edition. London: Minerva, 1991.

Gilroy, P. 1999. The Black Atlantic. Modernity and Double Consciousness. London and New York: Verso.

Gray, Alasdair. 1985. Lanark. A Life in Four Books. London: Picador.

Grosz, E. 1992. Bodies-Cities. In B. Colomina (ed.) Sexuality and Space. New York: Princeton Architectural, 241-253.

Gunn, N. M. 1991. Highland River. Reprinted. Edinburgh: Canongate.

Hall, Stuart. 2002. Who Needs ‘Identity’? In S. Hall y P. Du Gay (eds.) Questions of Cultural Identity. London: Sage, 111-17.

Kay, J. 1991. The Adoption Papers. Newcastle upon Tyne: Bloodaxe. Kay, J. 1993. Other Lovers. Newcastle upon Tyne: Bloodaxe.

Kay, J. 1997. Bessie Smith. Bath: Absolute Press.

Kay, J. 1998. Off Colour. Newcastle upon Tyne: Bloodaxe. Kay, J. 1998. Trumpet. London: Picador.

Kay, J. 2002. Why Don’t You Stop Talking? London: Picador.

Kennedy, A. L. 1999. Night Geometry and the Garscadden Trains. 4th edition. London: Phoenix.

McArthur, A. and H. Kingsley Long. 1957. No Mean City. London: Corgi.

Norquay, G. 2000. Janice Galloway’s Novels: Fraudulent Mooching. In A.

Christianson and A. Lumsden (eds.) Contemporary Scottish Women Writers. Edinburgh: Edinburgh UP, 131-143.

Palmer McCulloch, M. 2000. Literature and History: Women and the City in Early Twentieth-Century Scottish Fiction. In T. Brotherstone, D. Simonton and O. Walsh (eds.) Gendering Scottish History. An International Approach. Glasgow: Cruithe Press, 98-111.

White, H. 1987. The Content of the Form. Narrative Discourse and Historical Representation. London: John Hopkins UP.

Wilson, R. E. And G. Somerville-Arjat (eds.). Sleeping With Monsters. Conversations with Scottishand Irish Women Poets. Edinburgh: Edinburgh UP.




How to Cite

Rodriguez Gonzalez, C. (2021). Urban landscapes and textual spaces: three portrayals of Glasgow by A.L. Kennedy, Janice Galloway and Jackie Ka. Philologia, 6(1), 125–132. Retrieved from http://philologia.org.rs/index.php/ph/article/view/262



Nauka o književnosti/Literary Studies