Nickie-Ben's Close and The Devil loves Scotland: Devil influence in Scottish history and literature, and Nickie-Ben's Close
Pierce, Kelly Elizabeth
The novel Nickie-Ben's Close is a magical realism bildungsroman that takes the existing Devil archetype and reimagines him in a story set in modern-day Edinburgh, Scotland. Through the first person perspective of our protagonist Morag, who goes by the initial 'M', this novel explores the transition from childhood to adulthood and finding one's own identity. The Devil uses M's lack of identity and determination for independence to his advantage in seducing her into selling her soul. As an effect of her immoral choices in Edinburgh, M grows in maturity and understanding of herself and the reality of her life. Nickie-Ben's Close shows how easily people are willing to give their - metaphorical - souls away for instant gratification. In Section I of 'The Devil Loves Scotland', I provide a brief history of Devil belief in Scotland through changes in culture, society, religion, and enlightenment from medieval times to present day. I start with supernatural Scottish Border Ballads and then consider the shift in the Devil's representation with the Reformation. Then I examine how the rise of science changed the Devil's representation in the modern era, and how Scottish literature has used the Devil to comment on these changes in belief. In Section II, I explore Muriel Spark's The Ballad of Peckham Rye and argue it is a reimagining of the traditional supernatural Scottish Border Ballad through analyzing its style, structure, and theme in relation to the Border Ballad. In Section III, I reflect on my novel in terms of craft and inspiration from Scottish Devil belief and supernatural literature, with specific examples from The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner by James Hogg, The Testament of Gideon Mack by James Robertson, and The Ballad of Peckham Rye by Muriel Spark.