Edinburgh is a city proudly steeped in literature. It has been the home of poets and giants of the written word, inspiring countless writers and lyricists throughout the centuries with a breath-taking beauty and an air of grandeur that continues to excite creativity today.
2017 was Scotland’s Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology, and Edinburgh’s 101 Objects is its ongoing visitor trail telling the story of our city through some of its most prized objects.
When you are out and about on your Walk With Me micro-trails, make a small detour and visit these five literary objects from Marketing Edinburgh’s 101 Objects. Best of all, you can visit them at any point in the year, every year.
Walk With Me
Edinburgh’s 101 Objects
a free self-guided micro-trail
by This Is Edinburgh
The Scott Monument
The Scott Monument, (c) Marketing Edinburgh
The Scott monument is famously the tallest monument to a writer in the world. Sir Walter Scott was born and raised in Edinburgh, and it was his romantic tales that created a new genre – the historical novel – which became key to Scottish and world literature, influencing writers as diverse as Tolstoy and Victor Hugo.
Almost single-handedly, he rehabilitated the international image of Scotland, and in many ways, the romantic image of Scotland that many people around the world hold today is a result of Scott’s genius.
Statue of Sherlock Holmes
Sherlock Holmes statue, (c) Marketing Edinburgh
Sherlock Holmes might be the best known fictional character in literature. His bronze likeness with his pipe, deerstalker hat and Inverness cape, was erected outside 11 Picardy Place to mark the 1859 birthplace of his creator Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (1859-1930).
Sherlock Holmes has inspired many a crime writer, most notably Edinburgh’s Ian Rankin who references him in many of his Rebus novels.
The Old Huntsman and other poems
The Old Huntsman and Other Poems, (c) Marketing Edinburgh
This was war poet Wilfred Owen’s personal copy of The Old Huntsman by Siegfried Sassoon (1886–1967) signed on the flyleaf to mark ownership.
When Wilfred Owen (1893–1918) was being treated for shell shock at Craiglockhart War Hospital in Edinburgh, he heard the author of this prized collection had been sent there too. The two struck up a friendship and encouraged one another in their writing during their stay in hospital – object 38 of the Edinburgh’s 101 Objects trail is a memento of that time.
The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie first edition
Muriel Spark’s The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, (c) Marketing Edinburgh
In 1960, Muriel Spark (1918 – 2006) visited her parents’ home in Edinburgh, and in an outpouring of creativity completed one of the greatest novels of the 20th century, set in the Scottish capital.
Spark’s novel is influenced by Robert Burns, Mary Shelley, and Robert Louis Stevenson and vividly captures the atmosphere of 1930’s Edinburgh, a city she considered her ‘home town’.
This is a first edition copy of The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, on display in the National Library of Scotland as part of a celebration of the 2018 centenary of Spark’s birth in 1918.
Greyfriars Bobby, (c) Marketing Edinburgh
The world-famous story of Greyfriars Bobby is based on the myth that Bobby, a Skye Terrier, held a 14-year vigil at the grave of his master who was buried in Greyfriars Kirkyard when Bobby was only two.
In 1873, Lady Angela Burdett-Coutts paid for a statue of Bobby to be erected between Greyfriars Kirkyard and Chambers Street.
Taking the 101 Objects Trail
Find out more about how you can visit each object in person at edinburgh.org/101
This page is part of
Walk With Me
Visit Literary Edinburgh;
Walks & Tours
Walks & Tours
In celebration of 2017 being Scotland’s year of History, Heritage and Archaeology, Marketing Edinburgh created a bespoke website and populated it with 101 of Edinburgh’s most intriguing treasures. From the prestigious to the prosaic, each object has a glittering tale to tell.
You can sift through their stories online, then visit them in person at locations across the city, exploring the city’s great wealth of history.
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