Having the last word: paratextual framing in the Work of Alasdair Gray and 'Sidney Workman's Epilogue' to 'Old Men in Love' (2007)

White, G ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-4826-5190 2014, 'Having the last word: paratextual framing in the Work of Alasdair Gray and 'Sidney Workman's Epilogue' to 'Old Men in Love' (2007)' , in: Alasdair Gray: Ink for Worlds , Palgrave Macmillan, Houndmills, pp. 132-147.

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Abstract

‘Sidney Workman’s Epilogue’ concludes Alasdair Gray’s Old Men in Love (2006) and in so doing notes that Gray has told him that because “this novel would be his last (for he is seventy-two and in poor health) I [Workman] could be sure of having the last word.” (305) Gray apparently owes Workman this much because of how the author misrepresented the critic’s pre-publication critique of Lanark: a Life in Four Books (1981) by including it in that book’s epilogue chapter (479-99). Lanark’s Contents pages forewarn us of Workman’s presence, noting the Epilogue’s appearance several chapters from the end and indicating that it is ‘Annotated by Sidney Workman, with an Index of Plagiarisms.’ The Workman character is easy to miss since the mention in Lanark’s Contents is the only that names Sidney Workman (the headers of the Epilogue chapter call him ‘the critic’). His role is nevertheless an important one since, as I argued in ‘The critic in the text: footnotes and marginalia in the Epilogue to Alasdair Gray’s Lanark: a Life in Four Books’ published in Ma(r)king the Text, Workman is ‘the personification, for ironic and parodic purposes of … impersonal authority’ – the sort of impersonal authority all academics take on when footnoting their own or others’ work (White 2000: 60). Once we understand that his footnotes are specious, hostile and misguided, it becomes clear that Workman is a method of ‘satirising criticism’ (58). With his appearance in Lanark coming four chapters from the end Workman is very far from getting the last word on the author there, but when he returns at the end of Old Men in Love (2006) he clearly does succeed in getting the last word. In the following I will discuss how this appearance modifies what has gone before and how it revisits Gray’s thorny, postmodern relationship with academic criticism.

Item Type: Book Section
Editors: Manfredi, C
Schools: Schools > School of Arts & Media
Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan
ISBN: 9781137401779
Funders: None
Depositing User: Dr Glyn White
Date Deposited: 16 Oct 2019 13:22
Last Modified: 16 Oct 2019 13:22
URI: http://usir.salford.ac.uk/id/eprint/37304

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