Scott’s Legacy to Scottish Historical Fiction

I propose two arguments. First, that Scott’s Scottish historical novels, despite their customary fortunate endings for their privileged fictitious protagonists, are in the end more often than not about how history defeats their principal non-fictitious protagonists; and second, that the influence of Scott’s novels about a recurrently divided Scotland led to an impressive, though neglected, […]

‘Fantasy, Art and Life: Essays on George MacDonald, Robert Louis Stevenson and Other Fantasy Writers’ by William Gray

William Gray is Professor of Literary history at the University of Chichester, and Director of its Centre for Folklore, Fairy Tales and Fantasy. His previous distinguished publications include Death and Fantasy(2008), studies of writers such as George Macdonald, C. S. Lewis and JR Tolkien, a study of C. W. Lewis in 1998, a literary life of […]

‘The Heart Broke In’ by James Meek

Anyone who knows the work of James Meek (who won the Saltire Scottish book of the Year in 2005 with his astonishing and surreal Russian epic, The People’s Act of Love (as well as being short-listed for the Booker Prize), will be wary of accepting at face value the blurb for this ambitious new study of idealism […]

Scott, Opera and the Italian Journey

Earlier this year I was invited by Abbotsford, together with the Italian and Japanese Consuls in Scotland, to give a twenty minute opening address as part of a musical evening at Abbotsford, in which singers from the Royal College of Music and Drama gave a programme of songs from Scott-based operas, focusing on Lucia de Lammermoor and The Lady […]

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