Source and activity 4

Extract from an early draft of 'Lanark'

Handwritten page
Early draft of 'Lanark'.
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This page is from an early handwritten draft of book 4, chapter 38 of 'Lanark'.

It demonstrates a common feature of the manuscript, as it includes the author's detailed instructions about the proposed layout of the page.

Here, Alasdair Gray suggests that text representing speech should appear in narrow columns to distinguish it from the main narrative.

The manuscript for 'Lanark' is held by Glasgow University Library.

Suggested activity

Source 4, source 5 and source 6 can be used together to demonstrate the process of publishing, proofing, and the importance of page layout and design.

Each source illustrates a different stage producing a final version of 'Lanark' for publication, and you might like to compare them with the most recent printed edition (Edinburgh: Canongate Books, 2007, pages 448-450).

This source shows a page from the handwritten manuscript. Source 5 and source 6 show an extract from a letter which Alasdair Gray wrote to his publisher. It includes his own instructions relating to design, layout, and typography, and a proof page produced by the printer, with author's edits.

In each case, it's clear that Gray has a specific vision for the way in which the text should be presented in the final, printed version.

Do you think that the page layout and design has any impact on the meaning, or highlights important elements, of the text?


Themes in focus - Alasdair Gray

Find out more about Alasdair Gray in our collections

The Alasdair Gray Archive is listed under 'G' in our Guide to Manuscripts Collections.


Search our catalogue for books by or about Alasdair Gray.


Visit the Moving Image Archive site to find films inspired by, featuring, or about Alasdair Gray, including a clip of the film ‘Faces’ using masks made by Gray.

Alasdair Gray on the web

Visit Alasdair Gray’s own website for lots of information.


Find out more about the ‘Lanark’ manuscript held at Glasgow University Library.

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