Harmonic Monads: Reading Contemporary Scottish Fiction through the Enlightenment
Abstract

Abstract:

While cosmopolitan approaches to Scottish literature have proliferated over the past years, for many critics they invite unwelcome compartmentalisation or essentialism. One potential solution lies in a return to Enlightenment philosophy, in particular the concept of the monad. Examining the novels of Andrew Crumey, and to a lesser extent A. L. Kennedy, in relation to Enlightenment concepts of both harmony and the monad highlights their conception of texts as both complete in themselves and as always read in relation to other texts. Such an approach, drawing on both original Enlightenment texts and more recent theoretical models, allows not only a new reading of Crumey's work that foregrounds its philosophical innovation, but also invites a consideration of contemporary Scottish literature that moves past both political and temporal restrictions.