Category: British literature, National Library of Scotland
Robert Louis Stevenson was born in Edinburgh’s New Town in 1850. He died 44 years later on a small Samoan island in the Pacific.
During his short life he travelled the world, defied convention, and made himself one of the most famous writers of the 19th century.
Here we tell Stevenson's story, illustrated with material held in the National Library of Scotland's collections.
You can also see the entire first English edition of Kidnapped – one of his most famous tales – published in 1886.
This site features a selection of leading Scottish writers, photographed in a 30-year period by Edinburgh publisher and photographer Gordon Wright. It is based on an exhibition held at the National Library of Scotland in 2001.
Gordon Wright's photographs featured in 'The Write Stuff' are in copyright. For permission to use them, and to order print or digital copies, please email Gordon Wright.
Texts by Jennie Renton, editor of 'The Scottish Book Collector'.
Muriel Spark was identified as a promising and creative writer when her name was still Muriel Camberg and she was still at school. Some of her poems had already been published by the time she won her first poetry prize, at the age of 12.
Dame Muriel – poet, writer of fiction and literary criticism, and biographer – went on to win most of the literary awards going, was never out of print, and was at the top of her profession, internationally, for more than half a century.
Best-known as the author of 'The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie', Muriel decided in the 1940s to keep a record of her professional and personal activities, beginning a personal archive that is now one of the largest and most comprehensive held by the National Library of Scotland.
Robert Burns was born into a farming family at Alloway in Ayrshire in 1759. He died in Dumfries at the early age of 37. Yet in that short time he had taken the Scottish literary world by storm, and had secured a place for himself in history and in legend.
This site is based on material by or relating to 'Scotland's Bard' which is held by the National Library of Scotland (except where otherwise stated).
Special features are pages giving highlights of the Library's significant resources – whether original letters or poems (see Manuscripts page) or important books (see Books page).
The only known copies of nine of the earliest books printed in Scotland are the most precious items held by the National Library of Scotland in its role as custodian of the nation’s printed heritage.
Known as ‘The Chepman & Myllar Prints’, they were produced in or about 1508 on Scotland’s first printing press, established in Edinburgh (in what is now the Cowgate) by Walter Chepman and Androw Myllar. Chepman, an Edinburgh merchant, provided the money. Myllar, an Edinburgh bookseller who had previously been involved with printing in France, brought with him experience in the book trade.