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Friday, 18 December 2009

Making history come alive

As usual, I watched this week's episode of Neil Oliver's History of Scotland with huge interest, especially as this programme's subject was spookily prescient of a topic I will be covering in a future issue of Discover My Past Scotland - Sir Walter Scott and his influence on our perception of Scotland's culture and people. His novels made Scotland's history come alive for readers all over the world. It was great to see Scott's Conundrum Castle, his affectionate name for his home in the Scottish Borders. A large section of the programme was dedicated to the tragedy of the Highland clearances and the rapacity of the Scottish lairds.
Scott was staunchly Conservative in his politics and view of Scottish history. He regarded Radical politics with horror. Sir Walter visited the silk towns of Cheshire during the trade depression of 1826. He wrote in his diary that unemployment and hunger had rendered the lower classes 'desperately outrageous.'
Image: Sir Walter Scott, 1822. Engraving by William Darton. Author's collection.


JaneGS said...

Wonder whether Neil Oliver's History of Scotland will make it to DVD and netflix. Sounds like a terrific series. Scott is on my reading list for 2010. Thinking of starting with Waverly.

Sue Wilkes said...

Waverley is a good introduction to Scott's works - it still wears well, unlike Ivanhoe which shows its age in its reflection of the prejudices of the time. I would be very surprised if the History of Scotland doesn't make it to DVD, or is aired 'across the pond' - the BBC are very good at maximising their programme revenue.