Advertisement

From Dramatic Space to Narrative Place: George Mackay Brown’s Time in a Red Coat

  • Paul Barnaby
Chapter
Part of the Geocriticism and Spatial Literary Studies book series (GSLS)

Abstract

George Mackay Brown’s Time in a Red Coat traverses hundreds of years of history and a succession of allegorical and archetypal spaces, as its heroine (Maurya) voyages from medieval China to modern-day Orkney in a quest to ‘slay the dragon of war, or at least to reconcile the dragon with the peaceable creatures of the earth’. Manuscripts held by Edinburgh University Library (GB 237 Coll-50) reveal that the novel itself marks the terminus of a lengthy journey from drama to fiction, evolving from a play of the same name on which Brown worked from 1979 to 1982. This essay charts its passage from dramatic to narrative time and space, analysing a growing tension between the use of archetypal locations and situations and the increasing deployment of real-world spatio-temporal indicators. As the original play is mapped onto the novel, the provision of fuller geographical and historical detail permits a closer plotting of Maurya’s itinerary. At the same time, the allegorical dimension is significantly enriched by authorial discussions of the universal spatial metaphor that each chapter explores, by a greater emphasis on the motif of the dragon of war, and by a persistent emphasis on the theme of female solidarity.

Works Cited

  1. Baker, Timothy. George Mackay Brown and the Philosophy of Community. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2009.Google Scholar
  2. Barnaby, Paul. ‘Scottish Theatre Archives at Edinburgh University Library’. International Journal of Scottish Theatre and Screen 6:2 (2013): 87–99. Web. 3 August 2016.Google Scholar
  3. Beasant, Pam, ed. St. Magnus Festival: A Celebration. Kirkwall: Orcadian, 2002.Google Scholar
  4. Bell, Ian. ‘Breaking the Silence’. Rev. of Maggie Fergusson, George Mackay Brown: The Life. Scottish Review of Books 2.2 (2007): n.p. Web. 28 July 2016.Google Scholar
  5. Bicket, Linden. ‘George Mackay Brown’s Marian Apocrypha: Iconography and Enculturation in Time in a Red Coat’. Scottish Literary Review 5.2 (2013): 81–96.Google Scholar
  6. Bold, Alan. George Mackay Brown. Edinburgh: Oliver and Boyd, 1978.Google Scholar
  7. Brown, George Mackay. A Spell for Green Corn. London: Hogarth Press, 1970.Google Scholar
  8. ———. Greenvoe. London: Hogarth Press, 1972.Google Scholar
  9. ———. Three Plays. London: Chatto & Windus, 1984.Google Scholar
  10. ———. Time in a Red Coat. London: Chatto & Windus, 1984.Google Scholar
  11. ———. ‘Et in Orcadia Ego’. The Independent, 3 August 1991: 25.Google Scholar
  12. Burns, John. ‘Myths and Marvels’. The Scottish Novel Since the Seventies: New Visions, Old Dreams. Ed. Gavin Wallace and Randall Stevenson. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1993.Google Scholar
  13. Butter, H. ‘George Mackay Brown and Edwin Muir’. The Yearbook of English Studies 17 (1987): 16–30.Google Scholar
  14. Campbell, Donald. ‘Greenness in Every Line: The Drama of George Mackay Brown’. International Journal of Scottish Theatre 1.1 (2000): n.p. Web. 28 July 2016.Google Scholar
  15. Delmaire, Dominique. ‘L’Oeuvre fictionelle de George Mackay Brown: un fantastique qui laisse à désirer?’ Études écossaises 7 (2001): 41–60.Google Scholar
  16. Ferguson, Ron. George Mackay Brown: The Wound and the Gift. Edinburgh: Saint Andrews Press, 2011.Google Scholar
  17. Fergusson, Maggie. George Mackay Brown: The Life. London: John Murray, 2007.Google Scholar
  18. Murray, Rowena, and Brian Murray. Interrogation of Silence: The Writings of George Mackay Brown. London: John Murray, 2004.Google Scholar
  19. Profumo, David. ‘She of the Black Blown Hair’. Rev. of Time in a Red Coat and Three Plays. Times Literary Supplement, 15 June 1984: 676.Google Scholar
  20. Schoene-Harwood, Berthold. The Making of Orcadia: Narrative Identity in the Prose Work of George Mackay Brown. Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang, 1995.Google Scholar
  21. Spear, Hilda D. George Mackay Brown: A Survey of His Work and a Full Bibliography. Lewiston: E. Mellen Press, 2000.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Paul Barnaby
    • 1
  1. 1.Edinburgh University LibraryEdinburghUK

Personalised recommendations