Stuart Kelly: Walter Scott, Writer of the Future?

Walter Scott had more impact than any other author on this country. Quite simply, he reimagined Scotland. Previously conceptualised by the likes of Samuel Johnson as ‘primitive’, with a landscape that was ‘horrid’, by the time Scott was done Scotland was ‘sublime’. Scott is sometimes sneered at for creating an overly-romanticised ‘tartan and shortbread’ view of Scotland but when Stuart Kelly wrote about the author’s long shadow in his book Scott-Land, he subtitled it The Man Who Invented A Nation. If anything, that was an underestimation. Scott did not just reinvent what we think of as Scotland; but to some extent England as well. Caroline McCracken-Flesher argues that the tales Scott told, however romanticised, also provided for a national future in her book Possible Scotlands: Walter Scott and the Story of Tomorrow. So, 250 years after his birth, does Scott deserve his slightly tarnished reputation? Join  to hear more.

This event was filmed live at the 2021 Edinburgh International Book Festival. Caroline McCracken-Flesher took part remotely while the interviewer and Stuart Kelly were on stage in the venue.

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