A Cultural and Literary History


Donald Campbell

ISBN : 978-190-2669-73-1

History Cities of the Imagination Other Distributed Titles

March 2003

292 pages, 5.25″ x 8″

For sale in Hong Kong SAR and Macao SAR only

  • HK$175.00

Home to the one of the world’s great arts festivals, the capital of Scotland is a city of contrasting moods and atmospheres. Rising from the volcanic ridge that runs from the Castle Rock to Arthur’s Seat, Edinburgh is a combination of living history and vibrant modernity. The historic fastness of the Castle presides over the classical sweep of the New Town, the eccentric charm of the Old, the affluent haughtiness of the West End, and the whimsical respectability of the Southside. Gothic, Georgian and Modernist rub shoulders in this eclectic city, while literature, the visual arts, music, and drama have all flourished through the ages.

Donald Campbell’s exploration examines Edinburgh’s myths, legends, and conceits, while sharing with the reader his enthusiasm for its cultural riches. Challenging many of the assumptions behind familiar images, he celebrates the social and literary history of an urban community whose international status-from the Edinburgh Festival to the Scottish Parliament-is significant and evolving. From the glories of the Royal Mile to the gritty reality of Leith, this book reveals the many faces, past and present, of a great world city.

CITY OF HISTORY: Royal intrigue and murder; Holyrood and the Castle; the building of the New Town; philosophers and bigots; Scottish nationalism and the devolved parliament.

CITY OF LEGEND: Underground Edinburgh; Mary King’s Close and other ghostly tales; Greyfriars Bobby and Burke and Hare.

CITY OF LITERATURE: Sir Walter Scott and Robert Louis Stevenson; the poets of the Scottish Renaissance; Irvine Welsh’s Trainspotting; J.K. Rowling and the making of Harry Potter.

DONALD CAMPBELL is a poet, playwright and theater historian who has lived in Edinburgh all his working life.