Scott-land : The Man Who Invented a Nation Paperback
by Stuart Kelly
His name and image are everywhere - from Bank of Scotland fivers to the bizarre monument in Edinburgh's city centre.
Scott-land presumes that the reader will have only a hazy awareness of Sir Walter Scott, and, although Stuart Kelly will offer insights into Scott's works and biography, this is emphatically not a conventional literary biography, nor is it a critical study.
Partly a surreptitious autobiography - Stuart Kelly was born near Abbotsford - his examination of Scott's legacy and character come to change his own thoughts on writing, reviewing, being Scottish, and being human.
- Format: Paperback
- Pages: 204 pages
- Publisher: Birlinn General
- Publication Date: 04/04/2011
- Category: Biography: literary
- ISBN: 9781846971792
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Review by JBD1
By and large, a thoroughly well-done history of the life and afterlife of Sir Walter Scott. Kelly surveys Scott's literary productions, his inspirations and the many ways in which his works have continued to influence Scottish culture down to the present. If you've got any interest at all in Scott's biography and lasting legacy, by all means read this book.That said, the organization is quite idiosyncratic, with only the barest sense of narrative cohesion; it's so choppy as to be confusing, and sometimes Kelly's line of argument is completely lost within the deluge of anecdote and detail. I wanted more from Kelly on the tourism to Scottish locations Scott's works prompted, and the sections on how his writing led to so much of what many consider "traditionally Scottish" felt rushed. More than once I wanted to roll my eyes at an attempted joke that just fell flat, and a number of small errors grated.Perhaps the most frustrating bit for me, though, is that none of the text is footnoted at all, and Kelly goes so far as to poo-poo the very idea of providing a complete bibliography. Grumble grumble.