Dr. Thomas Richardson - Scott and John Gibson Lockhart

Good evening, Ladies and Gentlemen, it is lovely to see so many of you here.

You may be slightly surprised to see me here, rather than our new chairman, Prof. Iain Torrance, who sends his apologies. Wearing one of his other hats, Iain is presiding over the graduations at the University of Aberdeen all this week, in his role as pro-chancellor of that institution.

When we were first planning the programme for 2019, we did not, in fact, know that Iain Torrance was going to be the new chairman, and that he would not be in Edinburgh during the third week of June.

He very much regrets not being able to be here this evening and thereby missing what promises to be a particularly interesting talk.

We will do better with our dates for next year! 

The name of Dr. Thomas Richardson, who has kindly agreed to talk to us this evening, will be familiar to many of you. He is currently Eudora Welty Professor of English at the Mississippi University for Women which, in spite of its name and slightly confusingly, is a public co-educational (have I got this right?) university in Columbus, Mississippi. Dr. Richardson has only fairly recently stepped down as provost and vice president for academic affairs of that university, in order to be able to bring to completion a long-term research project which I will come back to.

Dr. Richardson’s publications have mainly focussed on the contributions which various 19th century authors have made to contemporary literary magazines, such as James Hogg and Robert Louis Stevenson, and one of these publications is, in fact, a chapter in a book edited by Caroline McCracken-Flesher who is, of course, well known to this Club, both as a speaker and as a regular visitor.

Given Dr. Richardson’s interest in 19th century literary magazines, it may not come as a great surprise that the ‘long-term research project’ which I have just mentioned, is the first scholarly edition of the works of John Gibson Lockhart, of which Dr. Richardson is the series editor. This edition is due to be published shortly here in Edinburgh by the Edinburgh University Press.

And how who could we possibly have anyone who is better qualified to talk to us tonight about Scott and his son-in-law and biographer John Gibson Lockhart? 

Read the speech here