Sir Walter Scott was a popular Scottish poet, novelist, playwright, historian and biographer. In the mid 1790’s, Scott became interested in German Romanticism, Gothic novels and Scottish ballads. In 1796, he published his first pieces, The Work and William and Helen, a translation of German Romantic Balladeer G.A. Bürger. Scott became one of Scotland’s most profound poets and writers using strands of novel-writing techniques, which he fused with his interest in Scottish history and antiquarian lore. Scott died in 1832, and the city congregated to agree on a monument dedicated to this prolific writer. In 1836, the city launched an architectural competition and what you see today are the results from George Meikle Kemp’s winning bid.
The Writer’s Museum is free and dedicated to Scottish writers, specifically Robert Burns (1759-1796); Sir Walter Scott (1771-1832); and Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-1894). Special exhibits and collections frequently visit the museum. Explore a variety of rare books, portraits and writing desks. Check for hours as the museum is closed on Monday and Tuesdays beginning October 1, 2016.
Makar’s Court is the area surrounding the museum. Keep your eyes peeled on the ground for famous quotes etched in stone, some of which date back to 14th Century writers.
This traditional pub is most notable for being close to the original birthplace of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the creator of Sherlock Holmes. Located nearby is Picardy Place, where the author was born on May 22, 1859. Today, a statue of Holmes stands erected, opposite of his birthplace. The food serves up traditional Scottish cuisine, but thankfully there are several options for vegetarians.
If you can imagine the creepy feelings you get while walking through a cemetery on Hallow’s Eve, that is exactly how the Royal Mile feels, specifically at night. The medieval architecture inspired plenty of writers, including James Hogg’s Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner.
Look out for Anchor Close, a crusty old lane located off the Royal Mile as this was the birthplace of the first-ever published Encyclopedia Britannica in 1768.
Near St. Gile’s Cathedral is the Adam Smith statue. In 1776, Smith published The Wealth of Nations which gave birth to the free market in economics. Smith is buried a few hundred meters away in Canongate Kirkyard. Here, discover a statue dedicated to the poet, Robert Fergusson at the gates.
Nearby the Royal Mile is the Scottish poetry library, a unique national resource for poetry. Beyond poems, discover an array of books, events and dust-collectors for purchase like poetry mugs.
In 1812, Mr. John Forbes Mitchell in Bombay proposed the idea to erect a monument dedicated to the notable poet, Robert Burns. In 1819, a committee gathered at Free Mason’s Tavern in London and in 1824 John Flaxman R.A. was directed to construct the monument. He was one of the finest sculptors during that era. The monument is on Queen’s Street in the Scottish National Portrait Gallery.
Robert Louis Stevenson Sites
Stevenson is the prolific author of the world-renowned, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. At 17 Heriot Row is the childhood home where the Stevenson family moved to in 1857 when Robert was seven years old. The Mound is an architectural piece created from the rubble of Nor’ Loch. The façade had a “split personality,” which may have contributed to the Jekyll and Hyde persona. The famous criminal Deacon Brodie also provided inspiration for Jekyll & Hyde, who was highly regarded cabinet maker and citizen but a burglar at night in hopes to pay off his debt. It is said Stevenson owned a Brodie Cabinet. Experience more at Lawn Market and Brodie’s Close.
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