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Walter Scott: The Man

and His Legacy


Welcome one and all to the first Scots Whay Hae! video podcast, a vodcast if you will. Last year the Association for Scottish Literary Studies took our Top Five Scottish Scottish Novels podcast over to the MLA Annual Convention in the US to help promote Scottish writing, and we were delighted that they asked if we would do something that they could take to this year’s convention in Boston.

So we had a think about possible topics and kept coming back to that controversial figure of Sir Walter Scott, a man who divides a nation’s readers like few others. Ali and Ronnie thought it was time to  reassess the man and his work, and immediately knew that there was only one man they wanted to talk to; Professor Douglas Gifford.

Not only is Douglas one of the foremost experts in Scottish Literature, and a mentor to them both, but he is also the Honorary Librarian to Sir Walter Scott’s Library at Scott’s home at Abbotsford, and he has worked tirelessly in cataloguing Scott’s collection and helping the house stay open. So, armed with camera, microphone and some warm scarves the three went down to Abbotsford to talk all things Scott.

You may have thoughts on Scott, you may never have thought about him or his writing, but I hope that after listening to Douglas talk you’ll at least be interested enough to consider, or reconsider, this man who was once Scotland’s most famous, successful and influential writer, and who, alongside Burns and RL Stevenson, remains one of the first names people across the world mention when they talk of Scottish writers.


Here are the results of our trip to the borders:

Thanks to the ASLS for their support in this film, and Abbotsford and the University of Glasgow for hosting us. Abbotsford’s new visitor’s centre is a wonderful space and is a must visit for anyone interested in Scottish culture or history. Thanks to Ronnie, especially for stepping in when Ali couldn’t make it, but particularly Professor Gifford for braving a freezing day and talking to us with the same eloquence, knowledge and enthusiasm that is his hallmark.

Finally, thanks as always to our own Ian Gregson for filming this and putting it together. Without him this page would be nowhere near as exciting. And cheers to the Great Waldo, undeniably a great Scot(t).

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