Betrothed reunited with Russian Talisman
For the first time since they were sold more than 170 years ago, two manuscripts by Sir Walter Scott have been brought together in the National Library of Scotland, as a result of one of them having travelled this month from Russia. Scott (1772-1832), one of the best-selling writers of his day, gave away his hand-written copies of The Talisman and The Betrothed in 1831. The Talisman was bought by a Russian count in 1868, and eventually transferred to the State Historical Museum in Moscow's Red Square in the 1930s.
On temporary deposit in Scotland's largest library - which holds the pre-eminent collection of Scott's manuscripts, papers and correspondence - the manuscript is here to help Professor David Hewitt and his team who are working on The Edinburgh Edition of the Waverley Novels, 17 volumes of which have been published by Edinburgh University Press in the past 10 years. The original of The Talisman is needed, says Professor Hewitt, 'to provide the first reliable text of Scott's fiction' - some of which was misunderstood by printers working quickly and often in difficult circumstances.
Telling of the adventures of a Scottish knight in the Crusader army led by Richard I of England, The Talisman was published with The Betrothed in 1825 as Tales of the Crusaders.
The manuscript is pictured with Dr Andrei Ianovski (left), who accompanied it to Scotland, and Dr Iain G Brown, the Library's Scott Collection specialist.
29 May 2003
Event — National Art Collections Fund
For 100 years, British art institutions large and small have benefited from grants from the National Art Collections Fund, allowing the larger museums and galleries to buy important works of art and enabling smaller ones to develop their collections. Since 1918, the National Library of Scotland also has been a beneficiary, acquiring outstanding drawings and photographs, and also books and manuscripts that are considered works of art, with Art Fund support.
To celebrate the fund's centenary, an event called 'Luxury and Learning' will be held in the Library on Wednesday 11 June at 7pm, with Iain G Brown and John Scally (both National Library) and John Higgitt (Edinburgh University) giving illustrated presentations and describing some of the treasures the fund has helped purchase.
Some of the acquisitions which have been Art Fund assisted have been digitised and can be viewed in our Digital Library:
Library visitors will be able to see some of the acquisitions — including the Mary Queen of Scots letter — in the Barrel Vaults display cases in George IV Bridge throughout June.
29 May 2003
Event — Tom Pow
'Landscapes and Legacies', the new collection of work by poet, travel writer and radio dramatist Tom Pow, is described by fellow Scottish author Ali Smith as 'beautiful, grave and moving', with 'a rare and infectious freshness in its vision'. Featuring poems that bring together the realms of nature and human perception, the book will be launched at a public event in the Library on Friday 6 June (7pm), hosted by the National Library of Scotland and iynx publishing. Wine will be served.
29 May 2003
Winter Song wins poetry pamphlet award
For poetic skill and the development of publishing in pamphlet form, the 2003 Callum Macdonald Memorial Award has been given to poet Willie Hershaw for his pamphlet Winter Song, published by Touch the Earth Publications.
Now in its third year, the award was created in memory of Scottish literary publisher Callum Macdonald, and is given in recognition of skill and effort in the field of poetry pamphlets. All Scottish publishers of poetry in pamphlet form can enter the competition - and 43 of them did so this year.
The judges agreed that the standard of all the entries was exceptional: 'The variety of techniques in both poetry and production utilised in the work entered was marvellous. We are thrilled with the response.' Galdragon Press took the runner-up prize for Joanna Ramsey's Walking on Hoy. For more, see our press release.
21 May 2003
New on the Electronic Resources Network
Encyclopedia Americana is a leading reference work which is noted for its 'scholarly and authoritative' content. The online version - a new addition to our Electronic Resources Network - provides access to such features as 50 million catalogue records, the full text of over 100,000 periodical articles, a searchable database of current events, and the 'Grolier Multimedia Encyclopedia'. The Library now also subscribes to Journal Citation Reports, a key reference resource for the evaluation of journals, through the ISI Web of Science database. These and other ERN titles are accessible from dedicated workstations in the George IV Bridge Building.
15 May 2003
How to catch An Elusive Spark
A unique public non-broadcast showing of a Bafta-nominated BBC Scotland television programme focusing on one of Scotland's most respected modern writers will take place in the National Library of Scotland later this month. An Elusive Spark, first broadcast in 1995 as part of the EX-S series, features a rare interview with Dame Muriel Spark, and is the basis of the second in our series of events relating to the author. Alan Taylor, associate editor of the Sunday Herald, will introduce the film, in our George IV Bridge Building on Tuesday 20 May at 7pm. The event is free, but ticketed: to book, please E-mail email@example.com, phone 0131-622 4807, or visit the Library shop.
8 May 2003
Muriel Spark exhibition launch
To mark the 85th birthday this year of Dame Muriel Spark, famed author of The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, the National Library of Scotland is organising a series of events in the George IV Bridge Building and launching an exhibition which goes 'on tour' from June. Alan Taylor, associate editor of the Sunday Herald, is curator of our new travelling display, 'Dame Muriel Spark: Scottish by Formation', and will talk at the launch event, on 7 May, about an 'Appointment in Arezzo with Muriel Spark'. After its run at the Library from 8 to 27 May (during our normal opening times), the display will visit various venues around Scotland: details will be announced later this month. The Library holds Dame Muriel's archive of professional and personal manuscripts - one of the largest literary archives in our collections.
1 May 2003