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Literature’s Exception(s)

Exceptionality and Commonality in Jackie Kay’s Trumpet

L’exceptionnel et le commun dans Trumpet de Jackie Kay
Justine Gonneaud


Cet article est consacré à la notion d’exception dans le roman de Jackie Kay, Trumpet. En lui-même exceptionnel dans le corpus varié de poèmes, nouvelles, pièces et mémoire de l’auteur, le roman dresse un portrait métaleptique posthume du trompettiste de jazz transgenre Joss Moody, à travers les divers témoignages, critiques ou voyeuristes, des médias, élégiaques et mélancoliques, de ses proches, et ceux, objectifs et pragmatiques, des personnels administratifs. Cet article se propose d’explorer les nombreuses acceptions du terme exception, en examinant dans un premier temps les thèmes de la marginalité et du secret — ou, autrement dit ce qui est excepté, mis de côté — pour démontrer leur importance dans une réflexion critique engageant les mécanismes de production de normes sociales. Dans un deuxième temps, cet essai se concentrera sur la notion d’exception prise comme ‘ce qui échappe à la règle’, et peut agir en retour comme modèle. Enfin, nous avancerons l’hypothèse que le roman, en changeant graduellement de tonalité pour mettre en scène les expériences communes du deuil, de la perte et de la crise identitaire, célèbre plus qu’il ne rejette les notions d’héritage, de tradition, et de communauté sans lesquelles ne pourrait se détacher aucune exception.

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1Jackie Kay’s Trumpet is a novel that may be deemed ‘exceptional’ on more than one count. To date, Trumpet remains the only novel in the author’s diverse production of poems, short stories, plays, children’s book and memoir. In Kay’s own words, ‘writing a novel is akin to having a long illness’, ‘physically and mentally tough’, partly because such a ‘capacious’ art form requires the writer to think ‘what to keep out’ (Kay 2016). In this respect, exception—or the willing exclusion of information—might be considered as the core of Kay’s writing process, in a novel that deals with secrecy, loss and the consequences of a scandalous revelation. As the book metaleptically portrays the legendary trumpeter Joss Moody—a fictional version of real-life jazz musician Billy Tipton—through the various lenses of the media, the general public’s eye and his mourning relatives’ testimonies, the depiction of an exceptional, posthumously-revealed-to-be-transgender, character gradually shifts its focus to emphasise the shared experiences of grief, vulnerability and coming-of-age. In her introduction to the book, Ali Smith describes Trumpet as an ‘extraordinary novel’, a ‘work of originality and uniqueness’ that achieved ‘classic status’ as soon as it was published (Smith 1998, viii). Interestingly, the terms chosen to depict an initially ‘extraordinary’ novel that immediately set a new standard and became part of a literary canon establish a connection between exception and norms, and suggest that one cannot be thought without the other. Both Smith’s framing of Kay’s novel and Kay’s portrayal of Joss Moody invite readers to examine exceptionality in the light of its opposites. If considered ‘as what is excluded’, secrecy questions the accuracy of what is visible and apparent; if taken as what is ‘atypical or outstanding’, the exception may become exemplary and, paradoxically, a normative standard that one should aspire to resemble.

2With the various acceptations of the term ‘exception’ in mind, this article will explore the tension between exceptionality and its opposites at the core of the novel. Focusing first on the motifs of secrecy and marginality—or in other words what is left out, what is excepted—I will argue that such themes engage a critical reflection on the making of social norms and their actual fluidity. Secondly, I propose to analyse exceptionality as ‘what is set apart’, ‘what stands out’ and may in turn function as a model to be emulated. In this respect, my contention is that the novel ultimately pays tribute to the proverbial rules that exceptions prove, for it celebrates rather than rejects the notions of commonality, shared experiences and ultimately ordinariness without which no ‘exception’ could exist.

Secrecy and Marginality: What is Excepted

3Based on the Latin root of the word ‘exception’, excipere, meaning ‘what is left out’, what is taken out, I would like to first examine what the novel excludes, what remains unsaid, before analysing the particular ways in which Joss Moody does ‘not conform to the general rule affecting other individuals of the same class’ (OED). The most striking feature of the novel may be that it leaves its main character out of the narrative. The novel is made up of no less than a dozen different narrative voices, and the chapters alternate between the intimate perspectives of Millie and Colman—Joss’s widow and son—the viewpoints of more loosely connected people from his past—a former jazz band mate, the family house maid, Joss’s estranged mother, a primary school sweetheart—and the opinions of strangers taking part in unveiling Joss’s secret during the post-mortem procedures—the coroner, the registrar, the funeral home director and Sophie Stones, a journalist who seduces Colman in order to gain insight into his father’s story. Interestingly, what is left out of this novel is precisely what is usually expected from stories of gender-bending characters. Patricia Duncker’s James Miranda Barry (1999), Sarah Waters’s Tipping the Velvet (1998), Rose Tremain’s Sacred Country (1992) or Jeanette Winterson’s Written on the Body (1992) consistently put the transgender or transsexual voice that they feature to the forefront, with a view to reclaiming narrative power. In this context, the contrapuntal strategy at the core of Trumpet, which consists in representing the transgender character exclusively through the perspectives of others rather than through a first-person narrative, is certainly an exceptional narrative strategy within such fictions traditionally dedicated to giving a voice to transsexual, transgender or intersex characters.

4Ironically, the primary subject is absent, an absence that makes the departed all the more present, a paradox that Millie herself notices: ‘The space next to me bristles with silence. The emptiness is palpable. Loss isn’t an absence after all. It is a presence. A strong presence here next to me’ (1998, 12). Similarly, the narrative structure of Trumpet focuses on the hole left by Joss Moody’s death, on the consequences on his loved ones after he passed away, on the bewilderment and curiosity of the general public and on the post-mortem institutional policing of his life choices. As a direct consequence of such a metaleptic portrayal of the deceased, the narrative focus and the reading hermeneutics are displaced, drawing the attention of the reader to the fluidity and the vulnerability of an identity that needs to be pieced together from various narratives. The only time Joss expresses himself directly is through a final letter addressed to his son. As he posthumously answers Colman’s questions regarding his own father’s African origins, he provides both his son and the reader with a clue to understanding their responsibility in this identity-making process: ‘It is quite simple: all of this is my past, this is the sum of my parts; you are my future. I will be your son now in a strange way. You will be my father telling or not telling my story’ (277). The portrait of the jazz man is achieved both indirectly and kaleidoscopically, placing Colman, and in a mise en abyme, the reader at the heart of the writing process.

5The second piece of information that is originally excluded from the family history and the public record is the biological sex of the cross-dresser. It is subsequently discovered first by the doctor in charge of delivering the death certificate, who uses her red pen to cross out the ‘male’ designation of the body to re-label the deceased ‘female’ in capital letters (44), and then by the mortician who shows Colman his father’s female body (113–16). Tracy Hargreaves underlines the highly symbolical dimension of the doctor’s red pen marking:

[T]he state re-inscribes, by over-writing, Joss’s self-fashioned masculinity. The over-writing by erasure, and the material presence of Joss’s body, become matters of crisis which are rapidly transferred to the state’s self-legitimating and intractable assertion of truth, which reins in tight the relation between anatomical sex and gender to insist that Joss was “really” a woman. (Hargreaves 7)

6For the institutions’ representatives, Sophie Stone and initially Colman, the nature of Joss’s female body appears to be closely related to that of truth and authenticity. Indeed, Colman’s primary reaction to the unveiling of his father’s body goes with the grain of the institutionalised assertion that a female body must match with a feminine gender identity. He experiences this discovery as the unmasking of a lie that calls his entire roots into question, forcing him to re-read his entire life story and his relationship to his father in the light of this revelation (48).

7For Millie however, the revelation of her secret to the general public does not change anything: ‘no matter how hard I try, I can’t see him as anything other than him, my Joss, my husband’ (35). In her view, the information that was excluded from the family history, the secret that was not meant to be known or seen is of such little importance that it is deemed non-existent: ‘I wish I could see Colman. What could I tell him—that his father and I were in love, that it didn’t matter to us, that we didn’t even think about it after a while? I didn’t think about it so how could I have kept it from him if it wasn’t in my mind to keep?’ (1998, 22). Millie’s perception of the secret, or in this instance, of the absence of a secret, points to the fact that ‘the truth of the body’ was irrelevant to their lives and identities as a married couple. She introduces another definition of truth and authenticity that advocates the fluidity of gender identity and its performativity in a Butlerian acceptation of the term (Butler 1999, 33). Such calling into question of an essentialist definition of identity engages a critical reflection on the nature of the rules and the norms against which exceptions stand out. In Tracy Hargreaves words:

as the text repeatedly demonstrates, institutionalized epistemologies are rendered null before the evidence of a more plural set of identities that seem to insist upon the arbitrariness of the relationship to gender as the signification of biological sex. In so doing, the text gestures towards a postmodern account of self-hood (at the same time as it appears to instate a self-determining humanism) in which the notionally extra-textual Joss is always in process as he is repeatedly cast in different narrative forms, whether as the subject of an elegy, memorializing his loss, or as the subject of Sophie’s work-in-progress notes for her biography’ (Hargreaves 7–8).

8The multiple voices featured in the text do provide a ‘postmodern account of self-hood’ as being performative, in flux, provisional and contextual. However, the text arguably also repeatedly stresses the power of institutional epistemologies, which are certainly challenged, but not quite ‘rendered null’, as they effectively reclaim Joss’s identity in death.

An Exceptional Being: What Stands Out

9The second acceptation of the word exception, is ‘a person or thing that does not conform to the general rule affecting other individuals of the same class’ (OED). By extension, it may also be understood as ‘what is set apart’, ‘what stands out’ and should in turn function as a model to be emulated. In this respect, Joss may be deemed exceptional on more than one count: an acclaimed and respected musician, an attractive man (16), and a crippling role-model for his son, who worshipped him and hoped to make him proud as a black man (49). But arguably, Joss embodies the paradox of the cross-dresser for, in order to pass for male, he needs to rely heavily on gender stereotypes and to conform to them, so much so that the sexed body appears subordinated to this perfectly performed gender. While remembering an argument they had as a young couple, Millie laments: ‘Why can’t he give me a child? He can do everything else. Walk like a man, talk like a man, dress like a man, blow his horn like a man. Why can’t he get me pregnant’ (1998, 37). From Millie’s perspective, the biologically female body of her husband is irrelevant to his gendered identity and demeanor, which strictly replicate social expectations of masculinity, as Joss walks, talks and dresses like a man. She identifies as a cisgender heterosexual woman and consistently refers to Joss as her husband. Since Joss was able to go through life as a male without raising suspicion, while living an ordinary married life with Millie within a heteronormative frame of reference, the reader is led to question what makes their relationship and life-choices ‘exceptional’, or marginal, in the public eye.

10For Matthew Brown, Joss’s uniqueness resides in the fact that ‘[a]gainst [an] official capture of Joss’s “true” identity, Joss himself promotes radical self-fashioning permitting the subject to author his or her own history and national affiliation, as well as racial and ethnic “routes”—and not to be beholden to any collective, biologically encoded “roots”’ (225). In the chapter ‘Music’ (131–36), an omniscient focalizer describes the musician’s creative process, and the laying bare of the self entailed by the performance: ‘When he gets down, . . . he loses his sex, his race, his memory. He strips himself bare, takes everything off, till he’s barely human. Then he brings himself back, out of this world’ (131). Jazz is described as being part of the genetic code of the performer, as being his cells and blood (135), an analogy which reveals identity to be as improvised as the musical genre itself: ‘He can taste himself transforming. Running changes. The body changes shape. From girl to young woman to young man to old man to old woman’ (133). The mercurial nature of the self, transforming and coming full circle as the musical phrases swirl and whirl (131) during the performance, is stressed by the polysyndetic syntax of the sentence. Extending the metaphor, Joss embraces identity as a life-long performance, and his exceptionality dwells in the fact that he has accepted that the unknown, the gaps and holes in his personal history were strengths and opportunities to improvise one’s life story, a lesson that he passes on to his son as a young boy. He encourages him to ‘make up [his] own bloodline’: ‘Make it up and trace it back. Design your own family tree—what’s the matter with you? (58). As Joss urges Colman to choose his own narrative, a paternal lesson that Colman seems ready to welcome by the penultimate chapter, the novel never completely does away with the social and epistemological injunctions superimposed on the individual:

Against the mystification elicited by Joss’s embrace of performance, the novel records various attempts to render his self more secure, more known, and, in so doing, Kay points up the flashpoints between Joss’s desire for self-authorship, on the one hand, and the interpellative mechanisms that police all subjectivity through external impositions of racial, gender and other cultural norms, on the other. . . . Aspects of his identity which Joss experiences to be in flux—most notably his gender and ethnicity—are always already fixed in the eye of the beholder, proving that self-invention is inevitably stymied by third-person perception. (Brown 225)

11Interestingly, the standard, or the common sense that regulates the understanding of Joss’s exceptionality must be pieced together from the various perspectives featured in the novel, just like the character’s identity. Sophie Stones, who refers to the couple as ‘big butch frauds’ (170), claims to know the taste of the general public when she states: ‘People are interested in weirdos, sex changes, all that stuff’ (125). She expresses her fascination for Joss Moody, along with her life-long interest for gossips and strange news (125) before concluding: ‘People, that’s what interests me. People are weird’ (126). Her final statement extends ‘weirdness’ to people in general, thus ironically contradicting her personal belief that Joss’s life choice is exceptional. Likewise, Colman’s discomfort is multilayered, as evidenced by the following bout of rage:

It’s not because I hate gays or anything like that. If my mother had been a lesbian or my father a gay man, I don’t think I would have got all het up about. What is it that is eating me? . . . No man wants a fucking lesbian for his father. . . . My father once said to me, I know what it’s like, son, when I was going through some fucking teenage torment. . . . But he didn’t, did he? That was an out and out lie. (66–67)

12In this passage, it is unclear to the reader, and to the character himself, whether he is infuriated by the fact that his parents lied about their sexuality, or about the sex of his father, which would change his relationship to his son. The expressions he uses reveal the internal contradictions of the character: ‘a lesbian for a father’ indicates that Colman, while accepting the reality of his father’s female body does not deny the truth of their shared experience as father and son. The funeral home director similarly hesitates over how to speak to Colman. After rehearsing several versions of his speech (112) and struggling to find the right words (114), he blurts out to Colman: ‘In other words, he does not possess the male body parts, but instead the person lying through next door that I am given to understand is your father is actually a woman’ (114). Right after this confrontation, he rethinks his framing of the issue:

All his working life he had assumed that what made a man a man and a woman a woman was the differing sex organs. Yet today, he had a woman who persuaded him even dead, that he was a man, once he had his clothes on. That young man believed his father was a man; who was he to tell him any different?’ (115).

13Although the mortician first strictly adhered to the consensus that biology determines a corresponding gender identity, he is shown to gradually change his reading of the body in connection to the gender chosen by Joss. The multiplicity of perspectives, combined with the shifting opinions of the perceivers who embody such ‘interpellative mechanisms’ (Brown 225), and the difficulty they face to adequately express the specificity of a given situation or identity demonstrate the absence of a general consensus, and the lack of a common sense or agreement regarding what could constitute the ‘standard’ that would make Joss exceptional.

14In Žižek’s analysis of Lacan’s theory of sexuation, the stereotypes (gendered or not), are ‘a set of unwritten rules that effectively regulate our speech and acts, the ultimate guarantee of Truth to which we have to refer even when lying or trying to deceive our partners in communication, . . . .’ But ‘the symbolic substance of our lives’, ‘the quasi-transcendental master-signifier that guarantees the consistency of the big Other—is ultimately a fake’ (294). According to Žižek:

Suffice it to recall how a community functions: the master-signifier that guarantees the community’s consistency is a signifier whose signified is an enigma for the members themselves—nobody really knows what it means, but each of them somehow presupposes that others know it, that it has to mean ‘the real thing’, and so they use it all the time. . . . [E]veryone refers to them, and what binds the group together is ultimately their shared ignorance. (294)

15In this instance, I would like to argue that the multiple, shifting and contradictory perspectives at play in the novel reveal precisely that each protagonist has a different interpretation of the rules, a different understanding of what constitutes the common sense or the standard ground to which Joss supposedly makes exception. By exposing the enigma at the core of such a ‘master-signifier’, the novel offers a frame within which Joss’s identity can no longer be thought as deviant or marginal, for the assumed stability and consistency of social norms is no longer guaranteed by an empty signifier.

16In keeping with the idea that communities are bound together by a shared ignorance rather than by a collective and clear knowledge of the normative rules that apply to them, I will examine the various forms of lack at play in the novel: the experiences of loss, grief, trauma and the absence of self-knowledge; common experiences that may ultimately be what bind communities together in Kay’s novel.

The Commonality of Exceptions

  • 1 For further development on the notion of naming in Kay’s poetry and short stories, see Marie-Odile (...)

17The gallery of characters demonstrates that not one identity is stable and simple. For instance, many other characters have more than one name,1 proving that Joss Moody is no exception in this regard: Colman Moody’s birth name was William Dunsmore (56), while Malcolm McCall, Joss’s former band mate, has been known under various aliases such as ‘Big man’, ‘Brassneck’ and ‘Big Red McCall’ (145) while Colman’s first girlfriend Melanie was legally named Ruth on her birth certificate but called Melanie after her still-born older sister (117). Similarly, each protagonist is submitted to the same reading and potentially disintegrating process that Joss Moody is subjected to after his death. In the words of Victoria Arana, ‘Kay’s emphasis rests . . . on the human need to apprehend an innermost authenticity when continually bombarded with repellent or estranging images of oneself’ (2009, 254). This is best exemplified by Millie, who is directly affected by the inquisitive eye of the media on the one hand and Colman’s reinterpretation of their family life on the other. She says: ‘Each time I look at the photographs in the papers, I look unreal. I look unlike the memory of myself. I feel strange now. It used to be such a certain thing, just being myself. It was so easy, so painless’ (1). Remarkably, Sophie Stones, who metonymically embodies this intrusive and destructive media eye, is equally depicted as the subject of such repellent images of herself. Her insecurities are mostly fostered by her sister, whom she describes as a better version of herself (124): ‘Believe it or not, I was a heavy little girl. I was. Being plump made me feel silly and inferior so I went on a diet and I got thin. But I can’t be too careful: there is always the fat person, lurking around, waiting for a chance to take me over. If I looked away, she’d be in there quicker than I could snap my thin fingers’ (124–25). Sophie’s interior monologue reveals the lasting impact of childhood anxieties linked with body shaming. The use of both a first and a third person to describe herself conveys the idea that she, just like Millie or Joss, is submitted to alienating social imperatives.

18Likewise, Colman’s identity is impacted by the death of his father forcing him ‘to go back over [his] whole life with a fine tooth-comb’ to ‘look for signs’ (48). According to Ann Whitehead: ‘If Joss de- and reconstructs himself through his music, Colman is faced with the problem of how to reconstruct his shattered identity in the wake of Joss’s death. The novel charts the process by which he transforms his traumatic confrontation with Joss’s naked corpse into a narrative which can make sense of this event in relation to his own life history’ (Whitehead 2004, 153). In addition to this central trauma—due to what could be qualified as a surplus of information—Colman must deal with the initial lack of knowledge regarding his birth parents and his origins, a feature that he shares with his father, whose African roots also remain mysterious (17).

19Through Colman, Joss, Sophie and Millie, Jackie Kay reframes the transgender identity within a much wider web of interacting factors, including race, regional and national cultures, nature and nurture, memories and childhood traumas—shattering the narrow lens of gender.

20A closer look at all the characters shows that they are all bound by a shared ignorance of parts of their identity, a desire to fill in the blanks of their personal histories and shared experiences of grief, trauma or loss. This idea is epitomised by the ‘House and Home’ chapters, dedicated to Millie’s memories and her expressions of sorrow that shift the focus away from the exceptional configuration of her couple to remind the reader of the universal traumatic experience of losing a loved one. This idea is stressed by the registrar, Mohammad Nassar Sharif, first bewildered by the contradicting birth and marriage certificates that Millie brings to his office. As an expert used to dealing with the intimate situations of birth, marriage and death, he tries to read her face to make sense of the confusing paperwork: ‘He couldn’t tell if she was embarrassed or not. She looked just like a widow to him. She had the widow’s sad skin. A widow who had come to get the piece of paper that would tell her, because she still didn’t believe it, that her husband had really died’ (78–79). In the professional perspective of the registrar, Millie turns into an ordinary widow who presents all the generic external signs of mourning—such as the ‘widow’s sad skin’.


21Through Joss, the novel explores a struggle between the ability of the individual to self-fashion an identity and the artificial, yet very potent, institutional and social discourses superimposed on the body, without ever resolving this ongoing conflict: ‘Medical and juridical narratives competitively overwrite each other like palimpsests, attempting to assert a monolithic truth. However, the photographic image acts as a pentimento in which the camera eye and the mind’s eye acknowledge the existence of two images simultaneously, the first one hidden, but ineradicably there, co-existing or oscillating with the second’ (Hargreaves, 14). As readers get to know the various focalizers of the story, they gradually realise that they have more commonalities than differences, which displaces the initially central notion of marginality—or exceptionality, to reveal that each is the product of a pentimento. These examples ultimately demonstrate that the exception does not so much confirm the rule, but on further examination, the same rule seems to apply to anyone, in a different way for each identity. The characters shared different forms of childhood traumas that they have to recover from, different patterns of inheritance that shaped their identities. More importantly, it seems that every character is linked by the communal experience of a form of lack, of unknown or unsaid that molded their choices and behaviors just as much as the present and concrete elements that were just listed. Joss Moody’s exceptionality dwells in the fact that he made conscious choices to make those gaps an opportunity to create his own narrative, to improvise his own partition within the blanks, replicating the structure of jazz music. In an interview with Maya Jaggi, Jackie Kay declared: ‘Trumpet’s form echoes jazz. There’s a solo, with improvisations by people affected by this secret; one refrain made to play different ways. Jazz is fascinating, because it’s always fluid, it has the past in it—work songs, slave songs, blues. Jazz is a process of reinventing itself. And race too, is less fixed, more fluid, in jazz. There’s a sense in jazz being a family’ (1998, 10). Ultimately, Kay does not so much stress the notion of exceptionality as the notion of shared experiences of lack and loss; commonalities that provide the ground for the recreation of improvised fluid, personal, plural identities.

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Arana, R. Victoria, ‘Clothing the Spirit: Jackie Kay’s Fiction from Trumpet to Wish I Was Here’, Women: A Cultural Review 20.3 (Dec. 2009): 250–61.

Butler, Judith, Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity (1990), New York, Routledge, 1999.

Brown, Matthew, ‘In/Outside Scotland: Race and Citizenship in the Works of Jackie Kay’, The Edinburgh Companion to Contemporary Scottish, ed. Berthold Schoene, Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2007, 219–26.

Hargreaves, Tracy, ‘The Power of the Ordinary Subversive in Jackie Kay’s Trumpet’, Feminist Review 74 (2003): 2–16.

Jaggi, Maya, ‘Race and All that Jazz’, The Guardian, 5 December (1998): 10.

Kay, Jackie, Trumpet, London: Picador, 1998.

Kay, Jackie, ‘The SRB Interview: Jackie Kay—Scottish Review of Books’, Scottish Review of Books, 2016, last accessed at on 30 October 2018.

Pittin-Hédon, Marie-Odile, ‘“One Person, Two Names”: Confluence in Jackie Kay’s Writing’, Études écossaises 19 (2017): 1-10, last accessed at on 31 october 2018.

Smith, Ali, ‘Introduction’, Trumpet, London: Picador, 1998, vii-xviii.

The Oxford English Dictionary, "exception, n." 2.a OED Online, Oxford: OUP, March 2020, last accessed at on 3 April 2020.

Whitehead, Anne, ‘Recomposing the Past: Trauma and Improvisation in Toni Morrison’s Jazz and Jackie Kay’s Trumpet’, Trauma Fiction, Edinburgh University Press, 2004, 140–61.

Žižek, Slavoj, Interrogating the Real, eds. Rex Butler and Scott Stephens, London: Bloomsbury, 2005.

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1 For further development on the notion of naming in Kay’s poetry and short stories, see Marie-Odile Pittin-Hédon, ‘“One Person, Two Names”: Confluence in Jackie Kay’s Writing’, Études écossaises 19 (2017): 1–13, last accessed at on 10 July 2019.

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Justine Gonneaud, « Exceptionality and Commonality in Jackie Kay’s Trumpet »Études britanniques contemporaines [En ligne], 58 | 2020, mis en ligne le 01 mars 2020, consulté le 04 février 2023. URL : ; DOI :

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Justine Gonneaud

Justine Gonneaud is a senior lecturer at the University of Avignon and a member of ICTT research team. Her research focuses on issues of ethics and gender and, more recently, on the development of a contemporary mode of urban art and ethos in contemporary British literature in the works of authors such as Will Self, Jeanette Winterson, Angela Carter or Peter Ackroyd.

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