William McIlvanney: Docherty

(1350 words)

Docherty is William McIlvanney's third novel. It won the Whitbread award for fiction in 1975 and focuses on the Docherty family, who live in High Street, Graithnock – a town based on Kilmarnock in Ayrshire – in the early years of the twentieth century, in the period preceding the First World War. Tam Docherty is a miner, and William McIlvanney has disclosed that he is partly based on his father.

Though the novel is very much in the realist tradition, there has always been a certain literary self-consciousness about McIlvanney's fiction. His first novel, Remedy is None (1966), drew its title from a poem by Dunbar and clearly had a strong relationship with Shakespeare's Hamlet. The mythic associations …

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Newton, Ken. "Docherty". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 30 June 2002
[http://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=5540, accessed 30 June 2015.]