In honour of the 250th anniversary of his birth, the University of Aberdeen’s Museums & Special Collections have collaborated with the Walter Scott Research Centre on Walter Scott & Song: Retuning the Harp of the North. Exploring ballads, opera, and theatrical and popular songs, this online exhibition showcases the University of Aberdeen’s Walter Scott collections alongside musical recordings. As a best-selling author, Walter Scott introduced Scottish traditions to audiences across the world. His writings and song collections inspired both his readers in the 1800s, and future generations of musicians.
Walter Scott (1771-1832) trained as a lawyer and practised in Edinburgh, but his true calling was for storytelling: he was deeply passionate about Scotland’s history and culture, and committed himself to showcasing and creating epic stories such as the Waverley novels and Rob Roy.
Like many others in the late 1700s and early 1800s, Scott had a deep interest in songs and stories that had been passed down by ordinary people over generations. As a young man, he gathered together ballads from the Scottish Borders, and published them in a book called Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border. ‘Battle of Otterbourne’ tells the story of a 1388 battle between a Scottish and an English family. Heavily influenced by the European romantic movement, he would go on to spark the imagination and creativity of generations of readers and writers.
Taking as our inspiration the folklore, myths and legends of Scotland and Europe, library staff have collated the following materials available both in the academic collection and from Aberdeen City Libraries. The Ground Floor of the Library hosts the Old Aberdeen branch of Aberdeen City Libraries, and more information can be found here.
- Such Wicked Intent: the Apprenticeship of Victor Frankenstein by Kenneth Oppel (Aberdeen City Libraries)
- Troublesome Things: A History of Fairies and Fairy Stories by Diane Purkiss (Aberdeen City Libraries)
- Scottish Traveller’s Tales: Lives Shaped through Stories by Donald Braid (The Sir Duncan Rice Library)
- Folklore and Nationalism in Europe during the long Nineteenth Century by Timothy Baycroft (The Sir Duncan Rice Library)
- More West Highland Tales (Vols 1&2) by John Francis Campbell (Aberdeen City Libraries)
- Reek Roon a Camp Fire: A Collection of Ancient Tales by Stanley Robertson (Aberdeen City Libraries)
- The Devil’s Recruit by Shona MacLean (Aberdeen City Libraries)
- Scottish Folk and Fairy Tales from Burns to Buchan (Aberdeen City Libraries)
- Scotland’s Merlin: a Medieval Legend and its Dark Origins by Tim Clarkson (Aberdeen City Libraries)
- Crossing the Bridge: Poems & Tales in Scots and English by Sheena Blackhall (Aberdeen City Libraries)
On behalf of all Library, Special Collections and Museums staff, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.