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Robin Jenkins (John Robin Jenkins) Biography

(1912–2005), (John Robin Jenkins), Dust on the Paw, The Sardana Dances, The Holy Tree

scottish novels holy scotland

Scottish novelist, born in the village of Flemington in Lanarkshire, educated at Hamilton Academy and Glasgow University. After working as a schoolteacher in Scotland, he taught from 1957 to 1968 in Afghanistan, Spain, and the East Indies, which respectively provide the settings for his novels Dust on the Paw (1961), The Sardana Dances (1964), and The Holy Tree (1969). So Gaily Sings the Lark (1951) was the first of many novels, the majority of which are characterized by the authenticity and detail of their reflections of his Scottish background: others include the quasi-autobiographical Happy for the Child (1953); The Cone-Gatherers (1955); The Changeling (1958), a compassionately ironic treatment of class distinctions; A Very Scotch Affair (1968); A Toast to the Lord (1972), which draws upon issues raised by the US submarine base at Holy Loch; and Fergus Lamont (1973), the most successfully comic of his works. Among his later novels are The Awakening of George Darroch (1985), a historical work which centres on the schism in the Church of Scotland in 1843, and Poverty Castle (1991). The underlying moral purpose informing all Jenkins's writing is evident in the consistency with which he engages the themes of loss of innocence and the interaction of creative and destructive impulses in human relations at personal and social levels. The conditioning of Scottish culture by a repressive Calvinist ethos, class prejudice, and the spiritual poverty engendered by material privation are also recurrent concerns in his work.

[back] Alan Jenkins Biography - (1955– ), Times Literary Supplement, New Chatto Poets, In The Hothouse, Greenheart, Harm, Essential Reading

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