Lecture brings Stevenson to life

Robert Louis Stevenson’s complex relationship with his home city will be explored in a public lecture.

Robert Louis Stevenson

Professor Ian Duncan, of the University of California, Berkeley, will give his talk at 6pm on Wednesday 14 January in Appleton Tower, Lecture Theatre 5.

The lecture

‘From “Picturesque Notes” to “City of the Dead”: Robert Louis Stevenson’s Edinburgh’ is sponsored by the Royal Society of Edinburgh.

Robert Louis Stevenson is one of Edinburgh’s most famous literary sons, yet he wrote most of his work away from it - farther and farther away from it.

The Scottish settings of his novels were imagined from Bournemouth, from the Adirondacks, and from the South Pacific.

"Weir of Hermiston" recreates Edinburgh and the Scottish Borders in the age of Walter Scott, when the city was one of the literary capitals of Europe. By Stevenson’s time, it was a literary ghost town.

The Edinburgh of his fiction belongs less to history than to memory and fantasy. The content of that fantasy will be the subject of Ian Duncan’s lecture.


This event is free and there is no need to book. Just turn up on the door.

Prof Ian Duncan

Prof Duncan was educated at King’s College, Cambridge, and Yale University.

He taught at Yale and the University of Oregon in 1995 before becoming the Professor of English at the University of California, Berkeley.

He has taught courses on Scotland and Romanticism, Darwin and Culture, Gothic, Walter Scott, and the eighteenth- and nineteenth-century British novel.

He is the author of "Modern Romance and Transformations of the Novel: The Gothic, Scott, Dickens" (Cambridge, 1992) and "Scott’s Shadow: The Novel in Romantic Edinburgh" (Princeton, 2007).

Event details

From “Picturesque Notes” to “City of the Dead”: Robert Louis Stevenson’s Edinburgh

Wednesday 14 January 2009, 6.00pm

Wednesday 14 January 2009, 7.30pm

Lecture Theatre 5, Appleton Tower, 11 Crichton Street, Edinburgh, EH8 9LE

Find Appleton Tower on campus maps

Further information

For more information on this event, including any accessibility enquiries, please contact Dr Penny Fielding.

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