Friday, 31 August 2007

Writer’s Museum of Edinburgh

The Writer’s Museum in Edinburgh was very much devoted to three important Scottish authors and had only minimal representation of any current Scottish authors. Of course the one with the most set up and devotion was Sir Walter Scott. It seems reasonable as he is responsible for preserving the Highland heritage – landscape, way of speaking, other behaviors, and putting the history out in a manner that isn’t as dry as an academic tome. I have read Rob Roy, and I didn’t entirely understand it, but from a writer’s perspective, many writers write to represent what they see lacking and certainly I could recognize the importance of that kind of preservation. I see the same thing happening with present day Scottish writer Irvine Welsh’s novels, and have a similar kind of ‘work through the dialogue’ period when reading his work as I did with Rob Roy.

Robert Louis Stevenson is very annoying from a writer’s perspective however, in the museum I learned that he was first published at 16, which made me jealous, as well as that whole writing novels that stand the test of time and are really quite treasured by many people and well adventuresome. I was not however, jealous when I saw that he was also nicknamed ‘Smout,’ that one a young writer could live without.

The last of the top three Scottish writers covered by the museum was Robert Burns, who previously I only associated with addressing the haggis and being possibly of the Romantic period of literature that I generally despise. However, I learned that he’s also responsible for timely phrases like ‘O what is death but parting breath’ and ‘man’s inhumanity to man,’ which to me have always been impressive bits of poems. The museum also had a cast of part of his skull which was an unusual display item when compared with the diorama of Sir Walter Scott’s sitting room and all the photographs of Robert Louis Stevenson.

No comments: