South Scotland

Walter Scott: Legacy of the 'man behind the monument' examined

Walter Scott Image copyright Kim Traynor
Image caption The new course hopes to help with "challenging misconceptions" about Sir Walter Scott

A bid is being made to boost the "international appeal" of Sir Walter Scott ahead of the 250th anniversary of his birth.

A new free online course is launched on 7 October examining the life, work and legacy of the famous literary figure.

It is a collaboration between the University of Aberdeen and Abbotsford, his former home near Melrose.

It hopes to provide an overview of his work while "challenging misconceptions" about the author.

Prof Ali Lumsden, director of the university's Walter Scott research centre and honorary librarian at Abbotsford, will deliver a series of video-based modules as part of the course being held in the run-up to the 2021 anniversary.

Image copyright The Abbotsford Trust
Image caption The study is a collaboration between Abbotsford and the University of Aberdeen

"Many people think of Scott as the man who invented the 'shortbread tin' image of Scotland, but what this course aims to do is move people beyond this simple and sometimes negative reputation," she said.

"While it is true that Scott presented a romantic image of Scotland, his writing also dealt with many of the complex social issues of the day.

"Scott realised you don't have to write about the moment you're living in to write about the issues that are relevant to your own time, and that is why his work endures in the modern age."

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption It is hoped to bring Scott to the attention of a new audience

Kirsty Archer-Thompson, collections and interpretation manager at Abbotsford, said the course had been designed for anyone interested in Scott.

"In the Scottish Borders we are at the very heart of that legacy, and I would love for local people to join us for just an hour or two every week to discover more about one of this region's most celebrated figures," she said.

"We are also hoping it will have international appeal and bring Scott to the attention of a new audience, especially in the build up to the 250th anniversary of his birth in 2021.

"The videos showcase Abbotsford in its setting so they really celebrate the Scottish Borders and introduce people to its places and history."

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