The following Introduction was prepared by our Hon. Secretary, Louise Gardiner (video and link to the full text below):
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Welcome to you all to today’s Colloquium on Sir Walter Scott’s sixth Waverley novel, Rob Roy, in this bi-centenary year of its original publication. This small comment alone makes us aware, yet again, of just how productive Sir Walter Scott was: only three years ago, we celebrated the bi-centenary of ‘Waverley’ - and now we are already at number six!
As you can see on the programme for today - and on your tickets - this colloquium will be introduced jointly by Prof. David Hewitt and Prof. Peter Garside, and we could not possibly ask for two experts on Sir Walter Scott who would be better qualified to introduce Rob Roy to us.
Both, David Hewitt and Peter Garside have had long and distinguished academic careers researching, teaching and writing on 19th century English literature, with a particular emphasis on the works of Sir Walter Scott, David at the University of Aberdeen and Peter mainly at the University of Cardiff, although he has now been living and working in Edinburgh for quite a number of years. They each, of course, also pursued their own wider interests during this time, but eventually they both returned, very decidedly, to Scott.
And this brings me to the most important reason for us being so very fortunate to have David Hewitt and Peter Garside here today: their crucial involvement with the Edinburgh Edition of the Waverley novels. In fact, it was David Hewitt who initiated this monumental enterprise more than 30 years ago, brought together the team of 16 academics who were going to work on it, and acted as the series editor for the entire 30 volumes, which were gradually published over a period of just about 20 years, between 1993 and 2012. In addition to his role as series editor, David also personally co-edited four of the volumes, and is the sole editor of another two volumes, including, and you have no doubt guessed it, Rob Roy.
Similarly, Peter Garside also became so closely involved in the Edinburgh Edition that, while still a part-time professor of bibliography at the University of Cardiff, he, too, took on a very hands-on general editing role in this giant enterprise, and actually moved to Edinburgh to be closer to the team - in addition to personally co-editing one of the volumes and being the sole editor of another three. One of these, interestingly, is Waverley to which, in my opinion, Rob Roy shows a number of interesting parallels - but we shall see ...
Finally, may I add that David Hewitt was the Edinburgh Sir Walter Scott Club’s president from 1987 to 1989, and with Peter Garside as its current chairman, we could not possibly be in better hands.
A very warm welcome to our two speakers for today!
Download the text of this talk here or watch the video below
[Unfortunately due to a battery failure a 3 minute section of this video is missing]