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  • The Abbotsford Trust

Walter Scott: The Man Behind the Monument

Discover the writer, collector, and cultural icon who remains one of Scotland’s most enduring literary legends.

7,034 enrolled on this course

  • Duration

    4 weeks
  • Weekly study

    2 hours

Explore literature that shaped the heritage and national identity of the Scots

Walter Scott is one of Scotland’s most significant figures and is famous around the world.

On this course, you’ll get to know the man behind the monuments and books. You’ll explore and discuss selections of Scott’s work, whilst reflecting upon his cultural impact and enduring literary legacy.

You’ll understand Scott’s significance as a poet and novelist, and will be familiar with some of his best-loved work; such as Waverley and The Heart of Mid-Lothian. You’ll also gain an understanding of how and why he was inspired to write, and how literature can shape heritage and national identity.

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Skip to 0 minutes and 11 seconds ALISON LUMSDEN: Walter Scott is one of Scotland’s most significant literally and cultural figures. And he’s known around the world. His physical influence stretches from his monument in Edinburgh’s Princes Street– for many years the largest to any writer in the world– and the railway station named after his first novel, Waverley, to place names around the globe. His literally legacy can be found in the most unexpected places, from opera to “Outlander.”

Skip to 0 minutes and 36 seconds KRISTY ARCHER-THOMPSON: Indeed, it’s almost impossible to visit Scotland without encountering Walter Scott. He changed the way that we think about our landscapes and our history, and the home that he created here at Abbotsford in the Scottish borders is one of the most special and precious writers houses anywhere in the world.

Skip to 1 minute and 14 seconds ALISON LUMSDEN: Some of you may have read fiction and poetry by Walter Scott. Some of you may know nothing about him. This short course has something to offer you all. It has been created by the Walter Scott Research Centre at the University of Aberdeen and Abbotsford, Scott’s home in the Scottish borders. In it, we will explore his role as a collector, as well as introducing you to some of his poems and novels. We will also examine his legacy, both in literature and through his magnificent home here at Abbotsford, and the museum collections it holds.

Skip to 1 minute and 46 seconds KRISTY ARCHER-THOMPSON: This course will introduce students to extracts from Scott’s work and provide a useful framework in which they can read further. It will be delivered buy me, Kristy Archer-Thompson, collections and interpretation manager here at Abbotsford to the home of Sir Walter Scott–

Skip to 2 minutes and 1 second ALISON LUMSDEN: And me, Alison Lumsden from the University of Aberdeen. Join us on a journey to learn more about Walter Scott and his contribution to literature–

Skip to 2 minutes and 11 seconds KRISTY ARCHER-THOMPSON: And to the Scottish nation.

What topics will you cover?

  • The work and legacy of Walter Scott
  • Scott as a collector
  • Relationship between Scott’s home at Abbotsford and storytelling
  • Connections between Scott’s work and landscape, history and nationhood
  • Curating Scott’s legacy

When would you like to start?

  • Date to be announced

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Learning on this course

On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...

  • Engage with a selection of texts by Walter Scott
  • Investigate the relationships between literature and national identities
  • Reflect on the cultural impact and legacy of Walter Scott
  • Explore how Scott uses his collection at Abbotsford as a springboard for a story

Who is the course for?

This course would suit those with an interest in Romantic and Scottish literature, or the history of the novel. It would also appeal to the Scottish diaspora, for both its literary content and focus on cultural heritage. It may also be of use to people interested in wider issues around literary heritage and tourism.

Who will you learn with?

Alison Lumsden (Ali) Holds a chair in English Literature at the University of Aberdeen. She is the director of the university's Walter Scott Research Centre and also Honorary Librarian at Abbotsford.

Kirsty is Collections and Interpretation Manager for the Abbotsford Trust. She is responsible for the collections, interiors and built heritage of Abbotsford, the home of Sir Walter Scott (1771-1832).

Who developed the course?

University of Aberdeen

University of Aberdeen is the 3rd oldest Scottish and 5th oldest UK University. With 14500 students from 120 countries, it is a world leader in medical research, energy, environment, law and business.

The Abbotsford Trust

The Abbotsford Trust aims to preserve and protect Abbotsford for future generations and act as a guardian of Walter Scott’s legacy by continuing to educate the public about his home and his work.

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