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  • 1.
    Gray, David
    Högskolan Dalarna, Institutionen för språk, litteratur och lärande, Engelska.
    Revising Robert Burns and the “No Female Bards” of Ulster-Scots Poetry2023Ingår i: The Burns Chronicle, ISSN 0307-8957, Vol. 132, nr 2, s. 166-186Artikel i tidskrift (Refereegranskat)
    Abstract [en]

    John Hewitt’s claim to ‘no female bards’ as part of the revival of what he called the rhyming weaver poets tradition narrowed the scope of scholarly interest. A variety of publications have provided a range of in-depth studies on the impact of Robert Burns in Ireland, and have done much to challenge the latter claim. However, the presence and output of Ulster-Scots women writers within this wider area of scholarship remains little known. By analysing poetry from three writers – Olivia Elder, Sarah Leech and Margaret Dixon McDougall – this article aims to advance several lesser-known eighteenth and nineteenth-century female Irish poets, add depth to the study of Ulster-Scots women’s writing, and provide a novel perspective on the relationship between Robert Burns and Ireland. Elder, who was active as a writer in the 1770s, adapts works from the eighteenth-century song tradition to satirize ‘Old Light’ Presbyterian beliefs in Ireland, arguably anticipating Burns attacks on Presbyterian church orthodoxy. Leech was a spinner living and writing in north-west Ulster in the early part of the nineteenth century, while Dixon came from a wealthy family in Co. Antrim, and emigrated to Canada in the 1840s, where she went on to become a pioneering writer and journalist. Both employ Standard Habbie in verses that ostensibly emulate Burns poems – ‘To a Mouse’ and ‘Address to the Deil’ – but which on closer inspection provide a vehicle to ruminate on moral, religious, and philosophical matters that were relevant to the unique circumstances of each author.

  • 2.
    Gray, David
    Högskolan Dalarna, Institutionen för språk, litteratur och lärande, Engelska.
    Slow post-apocalypse and distorted pastoral in Jessie Greengrass’ The High House2023Ingår i: Un/Building the Future: The Country and The City in the Anthropocene, University of Warwick , 2023Konferensbidrag (Övrigt vetenskapligt)
    Abstract [en]

    Jessie Greengrass’s cli-fi novel The High House (2021) is set in a near-future Britain and is chiefly dystopic in its depiction of the effects of Anthropogenic climate change on people and landscape. Set mostly in rural and coastal East Anglia, the story is noticeably devoid of urban spaces, digital technological, social media and the overall speed of modern life. Any yet, despite the rural setting, the novel’s post-apocalyptic narrative distorts any tendency towards easy pastoral associations. As Terry Gifford tells us, the long pastoral tradition is based on the paradigm of Theocritus Idylls, as “a vision of simplicity of life in contact with nature” (16). This heavily idealised representation of life in the country has been central to the Western literary tradition yet has changed dramatically in the early modern era. This paper will show how Greengrass employs traditional features of pastoral, such as a simpler, slower bucolic life, nostalgia, and a life lived in harmony with the seasons, together with more modern forms of the genre such as anti-pastoral or the harsh realities of rural life to present a form of pastoral disfigured by climate change. In addition, this paper will argue that The High House relies on elements of slowness related to Rob Nixon’s concept of “slow violence”: “a violence that occurs gradually and out of sight, a violence of delayed destruction that is dispersed across time and space, an attritional violence that is typically not viewed as violence at all.” (2) Ultimately, this paper argues that the conflation of rural slowness - a staple feature of the pastoral tradition - with the slow violence of climate change are central to the novel’s dystopic nature.  

     

     

     

     

  • 3.
    Gray, David
    Högskolan Dalarna, Institutionen för språk, litteratur och lärande, Engelska.
    The anxieties of intergenerational environmental justice in John Lanchester’s The Wall2023Ingår i: The Culture of Fear and Anxiety in Contemporary Europe / [ed] Carmen Zamorano Llena, Jonas Stier and Billy Gray, London: Routledge, 2023, s. 152-167Kapitel i bok, del av antologi (Refereegranskat)
  • 4.
    Gray, David
    Högskolan Dalarna, Institutionen för språk, litteratur och lärande, Engelska.
    Generations and Future Scenarios in John Lanchester’s The Wall and Contemporary Climate Change Discourse2022Ingår i: Between Fiction and Society: Imagination and World Building in the Aftermath of a Global Pandemic, 2022Konferensbidrag (Övrigt vetenskapligt)
    Abstract [en]

    John Lanchester’s speculative, dystopian cli-fi novel The Wall (2019) is set in a near-future Britain, where rising sea levels have led to a wall being built around the entire island. The wall is manned by Defenders to prevent those living outside the wall, the Others, from coming in. Britain of the novel has been transformed into a walled state within a climate changed Earth. Life inside the wall has been relatively little-affected by climate change, and the standard of living is somewhat similar to contemporary Britain. Beyond the wall remains largely unknown for much of the novel, since its focalisation on the protagonist Joseph Kavanagh means that as a reader we know as much as he knows: climate change has dramatically transformed whole parts of the planet and thus turned millions of people into climate refugees. Drawing on Adeline Johns-Putra’s engagement with intergenerational ethics in the context of climate change and the contemporary novel, this paper will analyse the generational elements of The Wall, in particular Kavanagh’s perspective from a near future, climate-changed earth, looking back (in anger). The paper will then make a comparative analysis between this fictional, future generation point-of-view and examples from contemporary speeches, documentary films and popular science publications, which have employed (no doubt genuinely) an imagined future generations trope, evidently designed to raise a sense of anxiety and alarm that leads to action on curbing global warming. James Hansen, Barack Obama, Al Gore, Leonardo DiCaprio and Greta Thunberg represent some of the key scientific, political and celebrity voices whose imaginative future scenarios are in many ways (fictionally) corroborated in Lanchester’s novel. This paper argues that the novel and recent climate-change discourse that employs the children-and-climate-change trope sets up a generational division (old-young, present-future) that may ultimately risk obscuring societal attitudes to climate change. 

  • 5.
    Gray, David
    Högskolan Dalarna, Institutionen för språk, litteratur och lärande, Engelska.
    Globalgia and the loss of planetary home in Cormac McCarthy’s The Road and John Lanchester’s The Wall2021Konferensbidrag (Övrigt vetenskapligt)
    Abstract [en]

    In 2005 philosopher Glenn Albrecht coined the term “solastalgia” as a psychological response to negative and often radical environmental changes in one’s home. For Albrecht, the increasing threat from “human-induced change such as war, terrorism, land clearing, climate change, mining, rapid institutional change” to our “solace” in a home milieu is an increasing cause for a sense of loss “nostalgia”, which causes “anguish or pain (algia)”. This presentation takes its bearings from Albrecht’s concept and the transnational turn in literary studies, and thus provides a literary-critical reading of two contemporary dystopian novels, Cormac McCarthy’s The Road (2006) and John Lanchester’s The Wall (2019). These novels are examples of speculative fiction, in that they provide fictional, future scenarios or ‘future histories’, to borrow Brian Stableford’s term, which include a high degree of “rational plausibility” within these “fictional constructs”. Consequently, this presentation extends the psychological-ecological, and contemporary, notion of solastalgia into the dystopian genre in general and future depictions in The Road and The Wall specifically. Ultimately, through literary analysis this paper illustrates a move beyond solastalgia, where the physic territory of the home has shifted onto a global scale, as a response to massive ecological devastation and desolation that I will call ‘globalgia’. In other words, the term is an attempt to theorise and categorise psychological-affective responses to fictional scenarios where the entire planetary system is recognised in the pain causing loss-of-home. I will argue that this notion informs aspects of characterisation and plot in the novels and that it can in turn offer the reader an understanding of solastalgia that is more in line with the level of ‘hyperobject’ proposed by Timothy Morton.

  • 6.
    Dodou, Katherina
    et al.
    Högskolan Dalarna, Institutionen för språk, litteratur och lärande, Engelska.
    Gray, David
    Högskolan Dalarna, Institutionen för språk, litteratur och lärande, Engelska.
    Literary scholar, teacher educator?: English staff profiles and attitudes to teacher education2021Ingår i: Nordic Journal of English Studies, ISSN 1502-7694, E-ISSN 1654-6970, Vol. 2, s. 59-98Artikel i tidskrift (Refereegranskat)
    Abstract [en]

    Over the past decade, what it means to be an academic teacher of English-language literature in Swedish institutions of higher education has changed. As a result of recent political reforms, many literature staff have come to assume the role as teacher educators. To better understand the implications of this development, the article maps the academic qualifications and research interests of English staff who teach on teacher education (TEd) literature courses nationally and their attitudes to TEd teaching. The article is based on data gathered via a semi-closed questionnaire and analysed using content and discourse analysis. It shows that a majority of the study participants are PhD holders in English with a specialisation in literature. Although few staff are qualified teachers and/or are engaged in literature teaching and learning scholarship, several have school teaching experience. Respondent attitudes to the teacher educator role vary, as do the conditions for TEd teaching at different institutions. The findings suggest that respondent expertise and self-identification and their previous TEd teaching experiences are consequential for their attitudes, as is the matter of whether the role requires that they address areas, such as school-oriented teaching and learning theories and practices, in which they lack competence. These findings, the article suggests, have bearing on future strategic discussions in English studies.

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  • 7.
    Paulsrud, BethAnne
    et al.
    Högskolan Dalarna, Institutionen för språk, litteratur och lärande, Engelska.
    Gray, David
    Högskolan Dalarna, Institutionen för språk, litteratur och lärande, Engelska.
    Dodou, Katherina
    Högskolan Dalarna, Institutionen för språk, litteratur och lärande, Engelska.
    Video Assignments2021Ingår i: Designing Courses with Digital Technologies: Insights and Examples from Higher Education / [ed] Stefan Hrastinski, New York and London: Routledge, 2021, s. 107-111Kapitel i bok, del av antologi (Övrigt vetenskapligt)
    Abstract [en]

    This chapter addresses the use of video assignments in two English courses for Swedish preservice primary school teachers (Years 4-6). These assignments have been introduced in courses designed to improve English proficiency and to develop digital competence according to the demands of Swedish educational policy. Students prepare short videos for assignments on course content and as makeup work for missed seminars. Student evaluations have confirmed the attainment of our main goals: extended student-teacher contact time, increased oral proficiency and increased digital competence for language learning. From a teacher perspective, the video assignments provide an important complement to other student work and a basis for better understanding what students know and for assessing their oral English. An added benefit is that the format is time saving for teachers, even as it requires a high level of preparation from students.

  • 8.
    Gray, David
    Högskolan Dalarna, Akademin Humaniora och medier, Engelska.
    “Command these elements to silence”: Ecocriticism and The Tempest2020Ingår i: Literature Compass, E-ISSN 1741-4113, Vol. 17, nr 3-4, artikel-id e12566Artikel i tidskrift (Refereegranskat)
    Abstract [en]

    As part of the response in the humanities to rising concerns of the human influence on the Earth system, ecocriticism - an interdisciplinary approach to the study of literature focused on ecological and environmental concerns - became a major trend in literary and cultural studies by the first decade of the twenty-first century. This period also witnessed an increase in ecocritical studies of Shakespeare's works, which have continued to proliferate. It is timely therefore to consider those individual works that have interested ecocritics and featured in ecocritical studies. This article will provide just such a consideration of Shakespeare's final play, The Tempest (1611), providing a critical review of the play's ecocritical studies thus far, and drawing attention to central ideas and common themes in the process. Finally, the article offers its own ecocritical analysis of the play, based on historical accounts of a catastrophic tidal event that took place in south-west England, in 1607.

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  • 9.
    Gray, David
    Högskolan Dalarna, Akademin Humaniora och medier, Engelska.
    Issue Introduction Volume 10: Landscapes: 'The Idea of North'2020Ingår i: Landscapes: the Journal for the International Centre for Landscape and Language, ISSN 1448-0778, Vol. 10, nr 1Artikel i tidskrift (Övrigt vetenskapligt)
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  • 10.
    Gray, David
    Högskolan Dalarna, Akademin Humaniora och medier, Engelska.
    Om Constance Mallesons resa i Dalarna2020Övrigt (Övrig (populärvetenskap, debatt, mm))
  • 11.
    Gray, David
    et al.
    Högskolan Dalarna, Akademin Humaniora och medier, Engelska.
    Foster, John Wilson
    Freedom and the North: Constance Malleson’s Lifelong Pursuit2019Ingår i: Ireland and the North / [ed] Fionna Barber, Heidi Hansson and Sara Dybris McQuaid, Oxford: Peter Lang Publishing Group, 2019, s. 285-302Kapitel i bok, del av antologi (Refereegranskat)
  • 12.
    Gray, David
    Högskolan Dalarna, Akademin Humaniora och medier, Engelska.
    Solastalgia, Nostalgia, Exhilarating, Immersive: Landscapes: Heritage II2019Ingår i: Landscapes: the Journal of the International Centre for Landscape and Language, ISSN 1448-0778, Vol. 9, nr 1Artikel i tidskrift (Övrigt vetenskapligt)
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  • 13.
    Gray, David
    Högskolan Dalarna, Akademin Humaniora och medier, Engelska.
    Andrew Carpenter (ed.), The Poems of Olivia Elder (Dublin: Irish Manuscript Commission, 2017)2018Ingår i: Eighteenth-Century Ireland, ISSN 0790-7915, Vol. 33, s. 193-196Artikel, recension (Övrigt vetenskapligt)
  • 14.
    Gray, David
    Högskolan Dalarna, Akademin Humaniora och medier, Engelska.
    The Vagaries of Radicalism: Ulster-Scots Literary Responses to the Abortive 1798 Rebellion of United Irishmen2018Konferensbidrag (Övrigt vetenskapligt)
    Abstract [en]

    In the final decades of the eighteenth century, dissenting fervour among asignificant element of Ulster-Scots in the North of Ireland, many of whom were Presbyterians of different stripes, can be gauged by the literary output of the Norther Star, an Irish newspaper that was the mouthpiece for the politically radical and republican Society of United Irishmen. The Belfast-based newspaper was consequently suppressed by the British army in 1797, and the execution of the Co. Down, Presbyterian minister James Porter in 1798 is commonly attributed to his scathing and satirical political squibs on landlordism in Ulster, published in the Northern Star. Subsequently, this paper seeks to demonstrate that while Ulster-Scots literature published in the decades following the rebellion can rightly be characterised by political apostasy, and the abandonment of radicalism; individual writers chose to express their reactions through a variety of literary forms, attitudes and themes, which range from outright disillusionment to rapprochement with the establishment.

  • 15.
    Gray, David
    Högskolan Dalarna, Akademin Humaniora och medier, Engelska.
    ‘Stemmed from the Scots’? The Ulster-Scots Literary Braird and the Pastoral Tradition2017Ingår i: Eighteenth-Century Ireland, ISSN 0790-7915, Vol. 32, s. 28-43Artikel i tidskrift (Refereegranskat)
    Abstract [en]

    This article examines the pastoral tradition in Ulster-Scots literature, an emergent form of Irish cultural expression in the eighteenth century. A late eighteenth-century flourishing of Ulster-Scots poetry has often been associated with an East Ulster regional paradigm: the rustic poet, small farmer, egalitarian and Presbyterian, Ulster Scot of Antrim and Down. However this article argues that Ulster-Scots literature begins almost a century earlier, and that the environments depicted in the literary works studied herein, range from the pastoralised landscape of north-west Ireland, and the rugged mountains of Donegal, to the urban, carnivalised confessional spaces of central Dublin. This revision of the growth of Ulster-Scots literature is further complicated by the presence of a ubiquitous Anglo-Irish print culture.

  • 16.
    Gray, David
    Högskolan Dalarna, Akademin Humaniora och medier, Engelska.
    Ecocriticism and Sustainability Education: A Reflection on Teaching English Literature to Teacher Students in Sweden2016Konferensbidrag (Övrigt vetenskapligt)
    Abstract [en]

    Ecocriticism, “the study of the relationship between literature and the physical environment”, and sustainable pedagogy (or sustainable education) approach complex cultural and ecological issues from literary and cultural studies, and education respectively (Glotfelty. 1996, p. xviii). Current research in both areas is now relatively thriving, and primary, secondary and postsecondary educational institutions around the world are increasingly focused on the promotion of sustainability, particularly since the UN Decade of Education for Sustainability Education 2005-2014. However, despite the growing connections being made between sustainability and transformative learning, there are still new possibilities for ecologically-minded, creative, relational and place-based approaches to education.

    Teacher education in Sweden now provides a unique opportunity to foster synergy in the relationships between subject knowledge, pedagogical practice; higher-, secondary-, and primary- educational milieus; which can positively affect society and the environment. This idea has lead me to dwell on my own experience of teaching English literature in teacher programs from pre-school to upper secondary - specifically English for Primary School Teachers 1B, 4-6 - and the potential to connect ecocritical approaches to literature and the promotion of sustainability education.

    The Swedish rules and guidelines for sustainable development and sustainable pedagogy, and their bearing on the literature component in the subject of English seem clear, from the national and local framework documents such as högskoleförordningen (1993:100), Dalarna University’s utbildningsplan grundlärarprogrammet grundskolans årskurs 4-6 and the English for Primary School Teachers 1B, 4-6 syllabus; as well as the Läroplan för grundskolan, förskoleklassen och fritidshemmet 2011. The latter provides a clear mission statement on the role of education in fostering citizenship with an environmental awareness towards sustainable development: 

    Skolan ska i samarbete med hemmen främja elevers allsidiga personliga utveckling till aktiva, kreativa, kompetenta och ansvarskännande individer och medborgare […] Genom ett miljöperspektiv får de möjligheter både att ta ansvar för den miljö de själva direkt kan påverka och att skaffa sig ett personligt förhållningssätt till övergripande och globala miljöfrågor. Undervisningen ska belysa hur samhällets funktioner och vårt sätt att leva och arbeta kan anpassas för att skapa hållbar utveckling. (Skolverket, 2011).

    Arguably this places responsibility on the school and school teacher, as well as the whole apparatus for teacher education in higher education.

    And yet, there is a lack of ecocritical approaches to the study of literature in nearly all of the English literature courses, offered to teacher students at Dalarna University. In regard to the example course (English for Primary School Teachers 1B, 4-6), the following learning outcomes are given:

    •visa kunskap om ett urval skönlitterära texter från den engelsktalande världen

    •i tal och skrift kommunicera och argumentera för sina egna tolkningar av texterna med hjälp av ett antal litteraturvetenskapliga begrepp och teorier

    •i tal och skrift diskutera och problematisera begreppet barndom i studiet av barn- och ungdomslitteratur

    •argumentera för och reflektera över hur skönlitteratur och andra typer av kulturella texter kan användas i språkundervisning för yngre elever för att utveckla såväl språkfärdigheten som förståelsen för andra kulturer och samhällen

    •i anslutning till litteraturstudierna redogöra för och reflektera över kultur- och samhällsyttringar inom den engelskspråkiga världen samt relatera dessa till egna kulturella erfarenheter

    •visa kunskaper om kursplanen i engelska för åk 4-6 med fokus på litteratur- och kulturaspekter samt hur dessa kan omsättas i klassrummet.

    The focus on literature and its capacity to promote understanding of a wider socio-cultural perspective is evident. However, in this perspective on human culture is rarely linked to the cultural attitudes and values that have the most significant impact on the natural environment. The result of this kind of anthropocentric or human-centred thinking, can be represented in Glen A. Love’s critical question: “Why are the activities aboard the Titanic so fascinating to us that we give no heed to the waters through which we pass, or to that iceberg on the horizon?” (p. 229).

    Ultimately, it is my intention to pursue further research to look at the current dearth of ecocritical approaches to literature and sustainable education (both within higher education as a consequence, within the English primary classroom in Sweden), and the potential for interconnected thinking on sustainability: literary analysis, the educational milieu, and social and ecological issues. Finally this paper will offer some opportunities for “course design that is rooted in ecological principles”, citing a current pedagogical model such as the Burns Model of Sustainability Pedagogy, and examples from teaching ecocriticism and green cultural studies, which recognizes the “the study of the relationship between literature, education and the physical environment” (Burns, 2015, p. 265). 

  • 17.
    Gray, David
    Högskolan Dalarna, Akademin Humaniora och medier, Engelska.
    Nordic Hub: Virtual Mobility and the Development of Minority Cultures and Languages in Europe2016Konferensbidrag (Övrigt vetenskapligt)
    Abstract [en]

    This paper will explore two areas: the promotion of Ulster-Scots, particularly in northern Europe, as a minority language and culture; and the opportunities for Dalarna University to support virtual mobility and foster a sustainable research network.

    The Dalarna Centre for Irish Studies (DUCIS) is well established in the Nordic countries, has strong links with existing networks, such as the Nordic Irish Studies Network and the Nordic Association of English Studies, and produces the Nordic Irish Studies journal in-house; all of which could help to facilitate the development of Ulster-Scots studies in northern Europe and beyond.

    Dalarna University is also a leading institution for online learning, and has a new research profile in Intercultural Studies. The existing online learning platforms that we can offer could be used to cultivate and support collegiality, research opportunities and educational resources. As well as providing an online meeting space for the network (with technical support), our online learning environment is currently used to teach 11 languages, including English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish, and Russian; and thus this paper will suggest that there are possibilities for the development of educational resources, specifically through the development of online co-taught courses in minority cultures and languages in Europe.

  • 18.
    Gray, David
    Högskolan Dalarna, Akademin Humaniora och medier, Engelska.
    The Ladies North: Ulster Women Writers and the Representation of Norway2016Konferensbidrag (Övrigt vetenskapligt)
    Abstract [en]

    This paper will present three Ulster women writers, Frances Browne (1817-79), Kathleen Coyle (1886-1952), and Constance Malleson (1895-1975), who, during the mid-nineteenth to mid-twentieth century, published books depicting life in the Nordic countries. In particular, the three northern Irish writers variously represented Norway and Norwegian culture in fiction – Browne’s "The Ericksons" (1852), Coyle’s "Liv" (1928) – and travel/life writing – Malleson’s "In the North" (1946), via publishers in Edinburgh and London. Consequently this paper will examine ways in which each writer engages productively with concepts of Northerness - traditional and modern, distinct and dialectic - through the depiction of Norwegian life. Ultimately this paper aims to contribute new perceptions on the unique literary contributions of Ulster women writers, to a wider discourse of Northerness and northern identities.

  • 19.
    Gray, David
    Högskolan Dalarna, Akademin Humaniora och medier, Engelska.
    The Story of Environment: The Promotion of Literature, Reading and Sustainability2016Konferensbidrag (Övrig (populärvetenskap, debatt, mm))
  • 20.
    Gray, David
    Högskolan Dalarna, Akademin Humaniora och medier, Engelska.
    Sport and Conflict/Sport and Conflict Resolution: A Future for Northern Ireland2015Konferensbidrag (Övrig (populärvetenskap, debatt, mm))
  • 21.
    Gray, David
    Ulster University.
    An ecocritical reading of Ulster-Scots poetry c. 1790-18502014Doktorsavhandling, monografi (Övrigt vetenskapligt)
  • 22.
    Gray, David
    University of Ulster.
    David Herbison, 'Elegiac Stanzas: On the Death of a Beloved Brother'; Frances Brown, 'The Story of Fairyfoot'; Samuel Ferguson, 'The Fairy Thorn. An Ulster Ballad'; William Allingham, 'The Fairies'; James Orr, 'The Spae-Wife'; Cecil Frances Alexander, The Legend of Stumpie's Brae; Sarah Leech, 'Address to Lettergull'; Samuel Thomson, 'November, To Damon'2014Ingår i: The Supernatural in Ulster Scots Folklore and Literature Reader / [ed] Andrew Sneddon, John Privilege (eds), Ulster: Centre for Irish-Scottish Studies, University of Ulster , 2014Kapitel i bok, del av antologi (Refereegranskat)
  • 23.
    Gray, David
    University of Ulster.
    Peatland and the Ulster-Scottish Culture of North-East Ireland in Thomas Beggs's Rathlin2014Ingår i: Scottish Literary Review, ISSN 1756-5634, Vol. 6, nr 2, s. 49-66Artikel i tidskrift (Refereegranskat)
  • 24.
    Gray, David
    Högskolan Dalarna, Akademin Humaniora och medier, Engelska. Ulster University.
    Postgraduate Experience: The Use of Digital/Online Resources in the Creation of Teaching Materials2014Ingår i: Ulster Poetry in the Digital Age: Creativity, Innovation and Professional Practice, 2014Konferensbidrag (Övrigt vetenskapligt)
  • 25.
    Gray, David
    Högskolan Dalarna, Akademin Humaniora och medier, Engelska. Ulster University.
    Northern Stars: The Ulster-Scots Literary Tradition and the North-West2013Konferensbidrag (Övrig (populärvetenskap, debatt, mm))
  • 26.
    Gray, David
    University of Ulster.
    Jennifer Orr (ed.), The Correspondence of Samuel Thomson (1766-1816): Fostering an Irish Writers’ Circle2012Ingår i: Eighteenth-Century Ireland, ISSN 0790-7915, Vol. 27, s. 230-232Artikel, recension (Övrigt vetenskapligt)
  • 27.
    Gray, David
    University of Ulster.
    “The Athens of the Land”: Autonomous colonial authority among Ulster folk2012Konferensbidrag (Övrigt vetenskapligt)
    Abstract [en]

    One of the most accomplished literary, scientific and cultural treatises on the Giant’s Causeway and the north coast of Ireland is William Hamilton Drummond’s 1811 epic work, The Giant’s Causeway. A work in which Drummond repeatedly promotes Belfast as a ‘northern Athens’; a civic authority to rival Edinburgh and Dublin. This paper will explore how Drummond uses the classical characteristics of the epic genre and British georgic-based verse to enhance the poem’s declamatory and authoritative voice, as a means to construct and perform a new vision of Ulster’s ascendance within post-rebellion / post-Union Ireland. In a letter to the Bishop of Dromore, Thomas Percy, in 1784, William Jessop appears to articulate Irish Ascendancy fears when he states,

    The Ultonians are Scots […] we are genuine Irish […] we look upon Ulster as one grand volcano, ready every moment to shake the earth around it, and pour forth its burning lava. In the south the climate and the people are milder. Potatoes are a cooling diet; oaten bread and whisky are combustibles.

    Drummond’s poem may be read as a riposte of sorts to this indictment, appropriating the languages of ethnicity, agriculture, environment and geology to promote an enlightened Ulster. Drummond champions a Presbyterian-led and mercantile-sponsored coterie of scholars in Belfast, as the erudite guardians of this now quiescent region within Ireland and within the new Union. Yet under this new guise, the activities of the North’s rural cotter-class as they appear in The Giant’s Causeway – mediated by georgic-verse conventions to extol the north of Ireland’s productive energies – seem to become synonymous with a passive and fecund landscape, meaning that at times the poetic persona drifts alarmingly close to a language of autonomous colonial authority. Ultimately this analysis of The Giant’s Causeway using Ulster-Scots Criticism and Ecocriticism will attempt to offer further means of negotiating Irish history and culture during an intense period of change in Ireland.

  • 28.
    Gray, David
    University of Ulster.
    “The most impressive nature poet of the eighteenth century”: Samuel Thomson, Ulster-Scots poetry and ecocriticism2012Konferensbidrag (Övrigt vetenskapligt)
    Abstract [en]

    The respective emergence of Irish and Scottish ecocriticisms and recent studies of Ulster-Scots poetry are noteworthy developments in literary criticism, following the first decade of the 21st century. Yet ecocriticism, perhaps due to an early trajectory that appears chiefly national and canonical, has not yet engaged with Ulster-Scots writings. Consequently, by embracing the interdisciplinary framework of literature and ecology (ecocriticism), this paper will discuss various interconnections that show examples of how Samuel Thomson, an Ulster-Scots poet, Presbyterian, hedge-school master and one of the chief contributors of verse to the radical Belfast Northern Star, engages with nature and the environment, during the early Romantic era. Such was Thomson’s contribution to Irish nature writing that Andrew Carpenter called him ‘the most impressive nature poet of the [eighteenth] century’, in the anthology Verse in English from eighteenth-century Ireland (1998).

    This paper will begin by briefly outlining some of the key developments in Irish and Scottish ecocriticisms and will offer a concise description of the re-emergence of Ulster-Scots studies. In order to demonstrate ecocritical analysis of Ulster-Scots poetry this paper will then provide several close-readings of poems from the Ulster poet Samuel Thomson. Thomson’s collections include a significant number of poems of ornithological and mammalogical interest. In these poems Thomson adopts and adapts Scottish and English verse forms and uses a variety of lexical items from language systems including Scots, Ulster-Scots, Standard English, (Ulster-) Irish and Latin. Thomson’s literary and cultural hotchpotch reconstructs nature tropes such as ‘pastoral’ and ‘wilderness’ and represents a lesser known literary engagement with Irish flora and fauna that will be explained in this paper.

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