'The thirty-nine steps', 1949
John Buchan's classic adventure story 'The thirty-nine steps' is the subject of a treasures display at the National Library of Scotland.
Celebrating the centenary of its publication, the display brings together various editions of the book, with supporting items from the novel's locations and time period.
Although today we would call it a thriller, John Buchan described 'The thirty-nine steps' as a 'shocker'. He started writing it as a diversion while recovering from illness in 1914.
The story was serialised in 'Blackwood's Magazine' from July to September 1915, under a pseudonym. It was then published in book form in Buchan's name in October that year.
Immediately popular, the book has never been out of print.
Hero Richard Hannay's spy chase through Scotland has also inspired several film adaptations, most famously by Alfred Hitchcock in 1935.
Highlights of the display include:
- The story's first appearance in print
- Three letters from John Buchan about the writing of the book
- Original artwork from the first book edition
- A typed script of the 1935 Hitchcock film adaptation.
'"The thirty-nine steps" – one hundred years on' runs from 10 September to 22 November.
10 September 2015