The University of Edinburgh's rare and unique collections catalogue online.

Scottish Literary Manuscripts

TitleScottish Literary Manuscripts
DescriptionThe University of Edinburgh has an exceptionally rich collection of Scottish literary manuscripts, with a particular strength being the poetry and prose of the 20th-century Scottish Literary Renaissance. We have particularly strong manuscript holdings in 20th-century Scottish poetry, including major collections by some of the leading figures of the Scottish Literary Renaissance, such as Hugh MacDiarmid, Norman MacCaig, George Mackay Brown, Helen B. Cruickshank, Sydney Goodsir Smith, and Maurice Lindsay. Smaller poetry collections include manuscripts by Edwin Muir, William Soutar, Tom Scott, and Andrew Young. Another hugely diverse resource is the Hamish Henderson Archive which contains poetry, songs, fieldwork, essays, lectures, translations, and correspondence. Significant collections of modern Scottish prose include the Papers of Fred Urquhart, which include many unpublished manuscripts by a writer widely acclaimed as Scotland’s greatest 20th-century short story writer. The Papers of Marion Lochhead, meanwhile, contain manuscripts and working material for a wide range of biographical and literary-historical works. There are archives associated with Scottish publishers from big names like Thomas Nelson (including over 4,000 letters from John Buchan) to small-press publishers such as Duncan Glen and Gordon Wright. We also have the records of influential small magazines like 'The Jabberwock' and 'Scottish International Review', which include manuscripts submitted by some of the most prominent Scottish writers of the 1950s and 1960s. Further collections cover earlier periods of Scottish literary history. From Victorian Scotland, we have correspondence by Thomas and Jane Welsh Carlyle and by poet, anthropologist and fairy-tale collector Andrew Lang. The Romantic period is represented by the Corson Collection of Sir Walter Scott materials, which includes a wealth of manuscripts, artworks, realia, and memorabilia relating to the ‘Wizard of the North’. Significant Enlightenment holdings include sermons, lectures and correspondence by Hugh Blair, holder of the world’s first chair of English Literature. The Laing Collection, finally, contains a wealth of manuscripts from the Middle Ages to the early 19th century. These include some of the Library’s iconic items, such as verse manuscripts by Robert Burns and Robert Kirk’s 'The Secret Commonwealth', an eccentric treatise on fairy superstitions and the second sight.
OriginScotland; Edinburgh

Image: 'Frogs' by Norman MacCaig (MS 3198)