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Scottish Writers

Sir James Matthew Barrie
James Boswell
Robert Burns

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
Kenneth Grahame
Robert Louis Stevenson

Sir James Matthew Barrie (1860-1937)

Barrie was a skilled journalist and playwright, but earned fame (as well as knighthood) as the creator of Peter Pan, or The Boy who Never Grew Up (1904), a story that has never outgrown its popularity.

Recommended Selection
Peter Pan
Pick up this illustrated edition of Peter Pan for the sheer beauty of Trina Hyman's illustrations. Classic artwork for a classic story.
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James Boswell (1740-1795)

Born in Edinburgh into an old-money family, Boswell is one of history’s best-known journalkeepers and diarists. In 1763, he entered into a long friendship with noted essayist and lexicographer Samuel Johnson, and Boswell’s two-volume Life of Johnson is the work for which he is most remembered.

Recommended Selection
A Journey to the Western Islands of Scotland: with The Journal of a Tour to the Hebrides
Considered classics of travel writing, these two books describe an 83-day journey around the coast of Scotland that Samuel Johnson and James Boswell took together in 1773. Each of the two men wrote his own book describing the experience, and this one volume contains both accounts.
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Robert Burns (1759-1796)

Burns was a curious amalgam of farmer, revolutionary, songwriter, collector of folk songs, and poet. He could never make much of a go as a farmer, but from the publication of his first poetry collection, Poems, Chiefly in the Scottish Dialect, in 1786, he became famous throughout Scotland and beloved around the world.

Recommended Selection
Burns: Poems and Songs
Oxford University comes through with this comprehensive and authoritative collection of the entirety of Burns's work, including critical commentary, airs for the songs, glossary, chronology, and bibliography.
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Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (1859-1930)

Doyle’s most famous literary character, the detective Sherlock Holmes, was such a phenomenon that when the author killed him off, the public demanded a prompt resurrection. Doyle wrote much in his lifetime in addition to the Holmes stories; when his son was killed in World War I, the tragedy touched off an obsession with seances and spiritualism, a topic that dominated his writings until his death.

Recommended Selection
The New Annotated Sherlock Holmes 150th Anniversary: The Short Stories
The most comprehensive collection of Sherlockian lore ever: all 56 classic Sherlock Holmes stories, presented in the order in which they were originally published; more than 2,000 notes by nonpareil authority Leslie Klinger; 700-plus illustrations; and a wealth of Victorian literary details, character biographies, and tantalizing new theories about literature’s most famous detective. Author Peter Straub, quoted on the publisher’s website, says it best: "This is what we have been waiting for: all the Sherlock Holmes stories with the most learned, interesting, revelatory annotations possible. The task will never be performed better, and in fact, need never be done again. An indispensable set."
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Kenneth Grahame (1859-1932)

Edinburgh-born Grahame had a life apart from literature, working his way up from clerk to become Secretary to the Bank of England. His children’s classic The Wind in the Willows, featuring Toad, Rat, Badger, and Mole, began as a series of stories he wrote for his son.

Recommended Selection
The Wind in the Willows (Everyman's Library Children's Classics)
Warning! Many reprints of this classic have been savagely abridged, leaving out chapters, excising British terminology, and deleting references to guns in the original, among other abominations of politically correct censorship. It’s quite difficult to determine which ones are authentic and which have been sanitized. All indications are that this edition appears to be the real deal, however.
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Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-1894)

Stevenson died young, and was in ill health most of his life. Still, he managed to become one of Scotland’s best-loved authors, on the strength of his lively tales, ranging from adventure to suspense and horror. Treasure Island (1882), The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde (1886), Kidnapped (1886), and The Master of Ballantrae (1889) are his classic works. Stevenson also wrote shorter fare; especially renowned among his stories are Markheim and The Bottle Imp, a “genie in a bottle with a fiendish twist” tale that stands up as one of the best ever created on this theme, which has of course since been done to death.

Recommended Selection
The Complete Short Stories of Robert Louis Stevenson: With a Selection of the Best Short Novels

Stevenson’s writings exhibit incredible variety and range – in this one book of his collected short fiction, you can travel in time through eras from Medieval to Victorian, in genres from romance to horror, and in settings from Great Britain to the South Seas. Enjoy the journey!
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