Dr. Susan Oliver - Trees, Rivers, and Stories: Walter Scott and the Land

On Thursday 5th May 2016 we had a talk by Dr. Susan Oliver. She was introduced by our Chairman, Alasdair Hutton: 

Sir Walter Scott’s writing has received a lot more attention recently as I think everyone here believes is well deserved.

Rather less well known is Sir Walter’s enjoyment of nature and his management of the natural world around him. He studied the planting of trees and became something of an authority on the subject. Indeed, buying land and planting trees became an addiction and was one of the factors which left him with no money when the publishing businesses of Archibald Constable and James Ballantyne crashed into bankruptcy and carried Scott down with them.

To tell us a great deal more about this important part of Sir Walter Scott’s life we are very fortunate tonight to have with us Dr Susan Oliver, Reader in Literature at the University of Essex where she writes about and teaches Romantic, transatlantic and periodical studies, along with ecocriticism.

Susan has published many articles about Sir Walter Scott and Scottish literature, and about the literature of the Romantic period more generally. She was awarded the British Academy’s Rose Mary Crawshay Prize in 2007 for her book Scott, Byron, and the Poetics of Cultural Encounter.

But of closest importance to us is that she is writing a monograph titled Green Scott that reevaluates Walter Scott’s writing about the ecological history of Scotland. That book also assesses Scott’s forward importance to the twentieth- and twenty-first century environmental studies.