less than 1 minute read

John MacNair Reid Biography

(1895–1954), Homeward Journey

Literature Reference: American Literature, English Literature, Classics & Modern FictionEncyclopedia of Literature: David Rabe Biography to Rhinoceros (Rhinocéros)

Scottish poet and novelist, born in Glasgow, where he later worked as a journalist. In 1936 his wife accepted a medical post in the Highlands, and Reid spent virtually the rest of his life there. Though he published two books of poems, and though two novels were issued posthumously, his reputation rests on his remarkable novel Homeward Journey (1934). This is a study of the relationship between two young people, David, the diffident, determinedly virtuous son of a minister, and Jessie, the first girl he has really known, encountered on his one night out on the town with an office mate. Jessie is anxious to get away from her poor and unsatisfactory family situation, a bedridden mother, a hopeless and at times truculent father. To effect her escape she is capable of telling and acting lies, and manipulating her power of sexual attraction. However, Reid eschews conventional moralism; his penetration into the secret hopes and desires of his protagonists, who are also defined by their social contexts, owes something perhaps to the Russian and French novelists he so admired.

Additional topics