Greyfriars, the Grassmarket and the West Bow: Literary Walk 23rd September 2013


Some reading:

Stevenson, RL, Picturesque Notes, 1879, various editions, available as a download:  good on scene setting, RLS has strong opinions

Stevenson, RL, Edinburgh from the South Seas (Poem):  thoughts of Edinburgh from Samoa

Scott, Sir Walter, Heart of Midlothian, 1818, various editions:  a great Edinburgh novel; beginning of chapters 2 and 4 for the Grassmarket and the West Bow – very vivid

Smollet, Tobias:  Humphry Clinker, 1771, many editions and Kindle download: an entertaining fictitious account of a visit to Edinburgh in the 1770s.  Smollet depicts a rosy pictures of Scotland in the eyes of suspicious visitors and deals with contemporary Scotto phobia.

Johnson and Boswell:  Journal to the Western Islands of Scotland and Journal to the Hebrides, often published together (good edition edited by Ronald Black, Birlinn, 2007) – very entertaining, delightful description of J and B walking arm in arm up the Royal Mile.

Buchan, John:  “From the Pentlands Looking North and South” (in Collected Poems edited by Lownie and Milne):  looking to the Firth of Forth, Buchan imagines foreign trade and exotic places.

Ramsay, Allan, The Gentle Shepherd, 1725,  “an every day story of country folk” set in the lee of the Pentland Hills.  Originally, from Leadmills in Lanarkshire, the elder Ramsay sought his fortune as wigmaker and bookseller.  As a poet, he wrote in the Scots tongue, and even translated Horace’s odes into a singularly Scots idiom.  He enjoyed a convivial retirement at octagonal Ramsay Lodge, or  “Goose Pie”, on Castlehill.  The younger Allan Ramsay was the portrait painter.


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